Space in Language and Cognition: Explorations in Cognitive Diversity / Edition 1

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Overview

Languages differ in how they describe space, and such differences between languages can be used to explore the relation between language and thought. This book shows that even in a core cognitive domain, such as spatial thinking, language influences how people think, memorize and reason about spatial relations and directions. After outlining a typology of spatial coordinate systems in language and cognition, it is shown that not all languages use all types, and that non-linguistic cognition mirrors the systems available in the local language. The book reports on collaborative, interdisciplinary research, involving anthropologists, linguists and psychologists, conducted in many languages and cultures around the world, which establishes this robust correlation. The overall results suggest that most current thinking in the cognitive sciences underestimates the transformative power of language on thinking. The book will appeal to all researchers interested in the relation of language to other areas of cognition - linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers - and especially to students of spacial cognition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fundamental part of this new-Whorfian movement has been Stephen Levinson's thinking about spatial language and cognition. It is valuable to have most of his arguments and data gathered together in this thought-provoking book."
-Nora S. Newcombe, Human Development

"Levinson's book will certainly stand as a textbook in the study of the relationship between language and cognition, and is rich and challenging reading...Those with an interest in the issue of linguistic variation will find an unusually well-documented and well-argued presentation of the actual variation in the domain of spatial reference."
-Ingjerd Hoem, Institute for Pacific Archaeology and Cultural History, The Kon-Tiki Museum, Anthropological Linguistics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521011969
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: Language Culture and Cognition Series , #5
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen C. Levinson is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Professor of Comparative Linguistics at the University of Nijmegen. His publications include Pragmatics (Cambridge, 1983), Politeness (co-author Cambridge, 1987), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity (co-editor, Cambridge, 1996), Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development (co-editor, Cambridge, 2001) and Presumptive Meaning (2001).

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Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
Preface
Acknowledgements
1 The intellectual background: two millennia of Western ideas about spatial thinking 1
2 Frames of reference 24
3 Linguistic diversity 62
4 Absolute minds: glimpses into two cultures 112
5 Diversity in mind: methods and results from a cross-linguistic sample 170
6 Beyond language: frames of reference in wayfinding and pointing 216
7 Language and thought 280
Notes 326
List of references 348
Language index 368
Author index 370
Subject index 375
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