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Re: [xmca] Language and Thought- Relevant and interesting


Thanks again for a fascinating article that seems to be exploring some
fundamental issues.

First comment.  This article is DESCRIBING the "fruits" of a developmental
way of orienting and referencing [co-ordinating] which is culturally
specific.  Are there scholars exploring the "development" of this particular
cultural system for referencing spacially and how this reference
system evolves ?

Second comment.  I noticed that Ed Hutchins and the members of the "Embodied
Cognition Lab" were anonymous reviewers. Do you or others on CHAT know about
the work of this lab??

third comment.  When reading this article I was linking it to the notions of
"metaphor as thought" in contrast to "metaphor as linquistic. On page 7 of
the article Rafael Nunez and Kensy Cooperrider wrote,

"It is tempting to suggest that what we are calling a 'construal' is in fact
regimented by the lexicon.... We argue that are results are BETTER explained
by a systematic CONCEPTUAL MAPPING of a salient ASYMMETRY of the macro-world
ONTO a salient ASYMMETRY of the micro-world..."

Mike, this excerpt seems to point to a similar phenomena that Lakoff and
Johnson are exploring with their concept of "metaphor as thought".  They
propose that children develop by learning the CONVENTIONALIZED systems that
co-ordinate their life worlds. These convetionalized ways of co-ordinating
within the lifeworld are then CONCEPTUALLY MAPPED ONTO new and novel
experiences. For example, in our culture life as a "journey" is a
conventionalized way of orienting or referncing the world [frame of
reference "FoR"]  From this conventionalized [cultural-historical]
CONCEPTUAL orientation our phenomenological experiences are "understood" or
"interpreted" according to these conventions.  Our notions of "love" for
instance are mapped onto the macro FoR of "a journey" and we talk about
"dead ends" "spinning our wheels" etc [as a CONCEPTUAL mapping.  ZPD as
"scaffolding" or "dialogue" refer to different conceptual mappings.  The
concept of "space" as "positioning" or "a container" are also referring to
basic asymmetrical conceptual FoR.

This article has relevance for the tradition of "embodied cognition" which
is exploring conceptual maps as emerging and developing from pre-linquistic
structures which I suspect are dialogical and intersubjective all the way


On Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 8:14 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> You can get the main idea from the abstract, but the paper is linked too.
> mike
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Jamie Alexandre <editor@crl.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 7:06 PM
> Subject: *** CRL Newsletter Announcement: New issue online ***
> To: newsletter <newsletter@crl.ucsd.edu>
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Volume 22, No. 2
> http://crl.ucsd.edu/newsletter
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> This edition of the CRL Technical Report features:*
> *
> *Re-mapping topographic terms indoors: A study of everyday spatial
> construals in the mountains of Papua New Guinea*
> *
> Kensy Cooperrider and Rafael Núñez
> Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD
> Abstract*
> The Yupno of Papua New Guinea make extensive use of topographic terms—such
> as uphill and downhill—for conceptualizing spatial relations (Wassmann,
> 1994). Given the ubiquity of topographic distinctions in everyday Yupno
> language, an interesting question is whether such contrasts are also used
> when topographic landmarks are not available, such as within traditional
> houses. Yupno houses have flat, oval floor plans, a central fireplace, and
> few, if any, windows. Yet in natural conversation topographic terms are
> still widely used indoors. We conducted a field experiment to test whether
> the use of these terms indoors followed a pattern, and, if so, whether the
> pattern was motivated by the orientation of the houses in macro-space or,
> instead, by the houses' own intrinsic asymmetries. 16 Yupno adults (8 men,
> 8
> women) participated in a reference disambiguation task in which they
> pointed
> to or grabbed real-word objects in response to pre-recorded imperative
> sentences (e.g. "Point to the uphill orange"). The auditory stimuli
> consisted of four topographic target words (two contrasting pairs). Two
> different traditional houses were used between participants: one faced a
> downhill direction in the macro-scale topography outside the house; the
> other faced an uphill direction. Results demonstrate that in both houses
> participants systematically evoked a micro-world construal of absolute,
> topographic terms: objects toward the door were construed as downhill,
> while
> objects away from the door were construed as uphill, irrespective of the
> topographic conditions outside. Our results are best explained by a
> systematic conceptual mapping of an asymmetry of the macro-world (downhill,
> uphill) onto an asymmetry of the micro-world (toward the door, away from
> the
> door). We discuss different factors that serve to support this construal,
> as
> well as some implications for the taxonomy of spatial frames of reference.
> To access the pdf version of the article directly, point your browser to:
> <http://goog_1241544480158/>
> http://crl.ucsd.edu/newsletter/22-2/22-2.pdf
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Editor's Note:
> This newsletter is produced and distributed by the Center for Research in
> Language, a research center at the University of California, San Diego that
> unites the efforts of fields such as Cognitive Science, Linguistics,
> Psychology, Computer Science, Sociology, and Philosophy, all who share an
> interest in language.  Our Technical Reports feature papers related to
> language and cognition.  We welcome response and submissions from friends
> and colleagues at UCSD and around the world.
> Please contact the editor for comments, questions or information; to do so,
> use the contact form at <
> http://crl.ucsd.edu/contact/form.php?subject=newsletter>, or reply to this
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> Center for Research in Language, 0526
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