Spatial language and spatial representation Essay

Explain how it is possible for people to speak about object location, or a alteration of object location?

The ability to understand infinite is critical to both carnal and human endurance ( Landau, 2002 ) , and the ability to speak about object location is considered a basic characteristic of linguistic communication ( Coventry & A ; Garrod, 2004 ) . Spatial prepositions are a comparatively little category of words, but can be used in many different ways to speak about object location ( Landau & A ; Jackendoff, 1993 ) . Projective prepositions, such as “ to the left/right of ” , “ behind/in forepart of ” , and “ above/below ” are one manner of speaking about object location, but these prepositions rely on the usage of a certain position or frame of mention ( FoR ) ( Coventry & A ; Garrod, 2004 ) . FoRs have been suggested to be a core characteristic of spacial linguistic communication ( Landau & A ; Hoffman, 2005 ) . The current essay will analyze the three FoRs proposed by Levinson ( 1996 ) , and see how these FoRs are used in linguistic communication to do it possible for people to speak about object location.

FoRs are a co-ordinate system leting the usage of projective prepositions to understand and speak about the location and way of one object ( the figure ) in relation to another ( the land ) ( Coventry & A ; Garrod, 2004 ; Retz-Schmidt, 1988 ) . There are three different lingual FoRs ; intrinsic, comparative and absolute ( Levinson, 1996 ) . Each of these FoRs relies on one perpendicular axis ( above/below ) and two horizontal axes ( front/back and left/right ) . The perpendicular axis has been proposed to be particular as it relies on an illation from gravitation ( Retz-Schmidt, 1988 ) . The three FoRs usually converge on the same reading of perpendicular infinite, as people tend to believe about objects in the unsloped canonical place in line with gravitation ( Carlson-Radvansky & A ; Irwin, 1993 ; Levinson, 2003 ) . The front-back horizontal axis has besides been highlighted as particular, as the asymmetric human organic structure, allows the assignment of these spacial parts more easy than left and right ( Retz-Schmidt, 1988 ) . Franklin and Tversky ( 1990 ) found that when participants read descriptions of object locations in relation to the forepart, back, left, right, caput ( above ) or pess ( below ) of an imagined perceiver, reaction times were fastest for the front/back and head/feet axes than for the left/right axis proposing that the front/back and above/below axes may so be particular due to their relation to gravitation and organic structure dissymmetries ( severally ) . The fact that the right/left axis was slowest may be attributable to the fact it is “ non correlated with an axis of the universe, nor does it hold outstanding dissymmetries ” ( Franklin, Tversky & A ; Coon, 1992, p.508 ) . All three of these axes are, nevertheless, of import as they construction each of the FoRs and let the classification of infinite and assignment of way in the usage of projective prepositions to speak about object location.

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The intrinsic FoR is object-centred, with co-ordinates based around the land through which the location of the figure is described ( Levinson, 1996 ) . For illustration, “ The ball is to the right of the chair ” shows an intrinsic FoR as the ball ‘s location is described in relation to the intrinsic right of the chair ( see Figure 1 ) . The intrinsic FoR can be considered binary as it involves speaking about object locations in footings of two points: the figure and land ( Kemmerer, 2006 ) . In order to speak about object locations, from an intrinsic FoR, the axes of the land must be extended in order to split infinite into intrinsic parts, such as “ front ” and “ back ” . van der Zee and Eshuis ( 2003 ) conducted three experiments analyzing intrinsic axis assignment in Dutch speech production participants. Participants labelled points on the different sides of an object to bespeak the forepart, left, right, and back of the object. new wave der Zee and Eshuis found that the labels were assigned by suiting a cubelike representation around the land, with the front/back axis being assigned to the most directionally pronounced axis, and the left/right axis being assigned accordingly. Harmonizing to new wave der Zee and Eshuis, directional marker is affected by land characteristics such as axis length, form curvature and form enlargement ( see Jackendoff, 1996a, for more information on land characteristics ) . Additionally Kemmerer ( 2006 ) highlighted that these cubelike axes are extended outwards in order to specify a hunt country, such as “ in forepart of ” or “ to the left of ” , in which to turn up an object and hence use the right preposition to depict the object ‘s location. Although these axes divide infinite, they do non needfully find way. As van der Zee and Eshuis ( 2003 ) highlighted, front and back ever occur on the same cuboid axes, but the side of the land labelled as forepart or back varied. Kemmerer ( 2006 ) highlighted that the functional characteristics of the land object frequently determine this way, and this occurs across civilizations even with objects that do non look to hold a functional forepart or back. For illustration, Heine ( 1997 ) found that talkers of Chamus ( Kenya ) identified the forepart of a tree as the side that the tree leant towards. Functional characteristics are besides of import in choosing which FoR to utilize. The presence of functional characteristics has been found to increase the likeliness that the intrinsic FoR will be used alternatively of the relation or absolute FoR to speak about object location ( Carlson-Radvansky & A ; Radvansky, 1996 ) .Additionally the locative footings used in the intrinsic FoR have been proposed to deduce from body-part footings, such as “ the arm/leg of a chair ” ( Kemmerer, 2006, p.4 ) , and some civilizations, such as Tzeltal, have been found to use these organic structure footings to objects, independent of the individual ‘s ain point of view, with no evident bodily characteristics, such as a rock ( Levinson, 1994, ) . As Kemmerer ( 2006 ) highlighted this allows these intrinsic organic structure characteristics to be used to project a search country for the figure ‘s location in relation to the land.

The relation FoR is viewer-centred, stand foring a position from which both the land and figure are being viewed ( Levinson, 1996 ) . For illustration, “ The ball is to the left of the chair ” shows a comparative FoR as an independent point of view is used to depict the spacial location of the figure in relation to the land ( see Figure 1 ) . To show an object ‘s location from a relation FoR, viewing audiences must project organic structure axes onto the land ( Kemmerer, 2006 ; Levinson, 2003 ) . The projection of organic structure axes may affect a 180 & A ; deg ; rotary motion of merely the front/back axis, as in English, both the front/back and left/right axes, as in Tamil ( India ) , or no rotary motion of the organic structure axes at all, as in Hausa ( Nigerian ) ( Kemmerer, 2006 ) ( see Figure 2 ) . Another of import facet, unique to the relation FoR, is that of position sharing, which is needed in order to pass on object location to another talker. Schober ( 1993 ) showed that when talkers in duologue were seeking to depict the same scene from different point of views, each participant was more likely to utilize a relation FoR from their ain egoistic point of view. Feedback between talkers was of import for perspective alliance as it allowed an expressed apprehension of which position was being used to convey the object location. The importance of feedback was reiterated by Steel and Loetzch ( 2009 ) who found that automatons could portion positions easier if they were allowed to explicitly feedback the position that they were taking. Schober ( 1993 ) besides found that both conversation spouses were every bit likely to take the other individual ‘s position ( an allocentric relation FoR ) as each other, proposing that participants would take their colloquial spouse ‘s position if it helped in turn uping the object. Additionally, mental rotary motion abilities have been suggested to be an indicant of a individual ‘s ability to fit their position with their colloquial spouse ‘s ( Schober, 2009 ) . Finally, usage of the relation FoR besides appears to be associated with life in an urban environment, although the relation FoR has been found to be used in some rural environments, and the ground for this correlativity is ill-defined ( Majid, Bowerman, Kita, Haun & A ; Levinson, 2004 ) .

The absolute FoR is environment-centred, based on central perpendicular ( e.g. gravitation based ) and horizontal ( e.g. North, South, east, west ) waies, or on stable environmental characteristics, such as mountain inclines or river systems ( Levinson, 1996 ) . Kemmerer ( 2006 ) highlighted that in order to utilize the absolute FoR, the person must project an angle from the land object to the figure object and so measure object location based on appropriate footings of central waies or stable environmental characteristics. For illustration, “ The ball is to the North of the chair ” expresses the figure ‘s location in relation to the land through the usage of a fixed central way system ( see Figure 1 ) . Both the relation and absolute FoRs can be considered third systems as they involve three points: the figure, the land, and a person- or environment-centred point of view ( severally ) . Kemmerer ( 2006 ) highlighted that the absolute system is complex and that grownup ‘s usage of the absolute FoR to speak about object location requires a high degree of neurocognitive attempt. Levinson ‘s ( 1996 ) description of Tzeltal revealed that talkers conveyed object location through an absolute FoR based around “ acclivitous ” and “ downhill ” horizontal parts as indicated by a local mountain scope. The system besides involves a horizontal “ across ” axis whereby the E or west way is specified by environmental characteristics. Levinson ( 1996 ) highlighted that talkers of Tzeltal can go on to utilize the same “ acclivitous ” , “ downhill ” and “ across ” compass system when no longer in the environment in which the mountain scope and usual environmental cues exist. Complexity arises as the absolute FoR is associated with the demand to constantly update and supervise a mental compass associating the individual and the objects around them within a system of fixed environmental or central waies ( Kemmerer, 2006 ; see Janzen & A ; new wave Turennout, 2004 ) . This requires a huge sum of cognitive attempt. Nonetheless, talkers are able to speak about object locations through an absolute FoR.

There is besides grounds from cognitive neuroscience that suggests a nervous footing for the FoRs. The three FoRs are classified as a type of categorical spacial relation as they involve spliting infinite into distinct parts for speaking about object locations through linguistic communication ( Amorapanth, Widick & A ; Chatterjee, 2009 ) . Neuroimaging and patient-lesion surveies have systematically suggested that the left inferior parietal cerebral mantle, and in peculiar the supramarginal and angular convolution, are involved in categorical spacial processing ( Amorapanth et al. , 2009 ; Noordzij, Neggers, Ramsey & A ; Postma, 2008 ; Tranel & A ; Kemmerer, 2004 ; see Kemmerer, 2006 ) . Additionally, Zaehle et Al. ( 2007 ) found that the usage of an egoistic ( or relation ) FoR activated parts within the posterior superior parietal lobe, and entirely the precuneus, whilst an allocentric ( object- or environment-oriented ) FoR activated parts including the right inferior and superior frontal convolution, and the right inferior and superior parietal lobe. However, Committeri et Al. ( 2004 ) found that a relation FoR activated a bilateral parietal-frontal web, with greater activation in the right hemisphere, whilst the intrinsic FoR activated the ventrolateral occipital-temporal cerebral mantle, and the absolute FoR involved activation in the ventromedial occipital-temporal and retrosplenial parts. Committeri et Al. suggested this absolute FoR activation reflected the matching of the current environment with stored environment representations, and so may reflect processing within a cognitive map. The bilateral activations reported in surveies, whereby FoRs rely on the left hemisphere countries, as in categorical spacial processing, and right hemisphere countries, as in co-ordinate spacial processing ( which involve uninterrupted prosodies ; Amorapanth et al. , 2009 ) may reflect the nature of FoRs underlying both these types of spacial processing. Additionally, Kemmerer ( 2006 ) proposed that the hippocampal constructions may be activated with the usage of an absolute FoR, as information is transferred to long-run storage as a portion of the procedures of updating a cognitive map, and the hippocampus has been shown to be active when long-run memories are encoded ( Corkin, Amaral, Gonz & A ; aacute ; lez, Johnson & A ; Hyman, 1997 ; Schacter, Alpert, Savage, Rauch & A ; Albert, 1996 ; Scoville & A ; Milner, 2000 ; Squire et al. , 1992 ) . Kemmerer ( 2006 ) besides predicted that the extrastriate organic structure country, which is involved in the ocular classification of human organic structure parts ( Chan, Peelen & A ; Downing, 2004 ) , may be found to be active with intrinsic FoR as it is based around organic structure axes. Clearly, these hypotheses need proving and much further probe is needed into the nervous countries involved in FoR usage. However, the findings discussed suggest that differential activation forms may be for the different FoRs, proposing a nervous footing for FoRs doing it possible to speak about object location.

These FoRs have been suggested to be one of the most of import facets of spacial linguistic communication ( Majid et al. , 2004 ) . The three FoRs can meet on the same descriptions of object locations, but can besides belie each other ( see Figure 1 ) . Therefore, in order to speak about an object location, it is necessary to choose one FoR for usage. Evidence suggests that, in linguistic communications where multiple FoRs are available to be used, all FoRs are ab initio activated before one is selected, and spacial parts are defined fastest when the FoRs coincide on an object ‘s location ( Carlson-Radvansky & A ; Logan, 1997 ) . Carlson-Radvansky and Jiang ( 1998 ) used a negative priming paradigm, such as that used in ocular attending surveies ( e.g. Tipper & A ; Cranston, 1985 ; see Fox, 1995, for a reappraisal ) , to look into online FoR choice in English speech production participants, who can utilize all three FoRs ( Majid et al. , 2004 ) . In Carlson-Radvansky and Jiang ‘s ( 1998 ) study the intrinsic FoR contradicted the absolute and comparative FoRs in one premier test ( Prime A ) , was non present in the other premier test ( Prime B ) , and was the mark FoR in the investigation test. Participants had to judge the acceptableness of the preposition “ above ” , presented in a sentence, for the object locations presented. Carlson-Radvansky and Jiang found that when the investigation test followed Prime A, but non Prime B, it took longer to judge the acceptableness of “ above ” , proposing that in Prime A the intrinsic FoR had been inhibited when it contradicted the other FoRs in the investigation test. Carlson-Radvansky and Jiang concluded that all FoRs are automatically ab initio activated when presented with spacial descriptions, but that suppression is used to assist choose an appropriate FoR, by stamp downing contradictory FoRs ( see besides Carlson, 1999 ; Carlson-Radvansky & A ; Irwin, 1994 ) . The event-related potency ( ERP ) technique is a utile manner of mensurating encephalon electrical activity and understanding the clip class of activations associated with cognitive procedures ( Luck, 2005 ) , and it has been used to analyze lingual FoRs. In an ERP survey of FoR assignment, Taylor, Faust, Sitnikova, Naylor and Holcomb ( 2001 ) found that when spacial footings matched the intrinsic FoR, less semantic integrating was needed, as evidenced by a reduced N400 constituent. The N400 has been proposed to reflect general semantic processing ( Holcomb, 1993 ) and these findings suggest that the intrinsic FoR is prioritised in English talkers when FoR contradictions occur, as it allows more efficient lingual readings of infinite based on less semantic information. Therefore, grounds suggests that it is possible for people to get the better of contradictions between FoRs and choose a peculiar FoR in order to speak about and understand object locations.

Given that three FoRs have been discovered, it is of import to see how these FoRs are used in different linguistic communications, and the catholicity of these FoRs for utilizing projective prepositions to speak about object location. Pederson et Al. ( 1998 ) used a Men and Tree game to analyze FoR usage across different linguistic communications. Participants had to depict the object location in one image to the other participant, whilst doing it distinguishable from several other similar images. Different combinations of the three FoRs were found to be used across several linguistic communications, but all linguistic communications used at least one FoR. Similarly, English talkers have been found to utilize all three FoRs ( Majid et al, 2004 ) , whilst Tzeltal talkers chiefly use the absolute FoR, have some limited usage of the intrinsic FoR, but ne’er use the relation FoR ( Levinson, 1996 ) . Majid, et Al. ( 2004 ) summarised FoR usage in 20 different linguistic communications, and found that both the intrinsic and absolute FoR were used in each linguistic communication, but that the absolute FoR was by and large restricted to specialized fortunes in many linguistic communications, whilst the intrinsic FoR was systematically used in all langauges. The relation FoR was the least frequently used, being wholly absent from some linguistic communications and merely used in specialized fortunes in others. Relevant to this treatment though, the research has shown that all linguistic communications appear to utilize one or more of the FoRs when speaking about object location. It is besides of import to observe that there are cross-linguistic differences within FOR usage. As already highlighted, rotational differences exist in different linguistic communications for usage of the relation FoR, the footing of the absolute FoR differs depending on whether central waies or environmental characteristics are used, and intrinsic FoR usage differs depending on whether body-axis systems or functional characteristics are used ( Kemmerer, 2006 ) . Additionally, it should be highlighted that these FoRs can besides be seen in persons utilizing American Sign Language, leting them to linguistically stand for object locations, although non through address per Se ( Emmorey & A ; Falgier, 1999 ) . Therefore, FoRs appear to be present in all linguistic communications leting people to show object locations.

As FoRs appear to be used to speak about object locations in many, and perchance all linguistic communications, it is besides of import to see how these FoRs develop for usage in kids. Projective prepositions have been found to be learnt subsequently in life than topological prepositions and propinquity footings, and this determination appears stable across different linguistic communications ( Bowerman & A ; Choi, 2003 ; Johnston, 1988 ; Johnston & A ; Slobin, 1979 ) . Additionally, grounds has suggested that babies aged 3-4 months old can categorize infinite harmonizing to the axes nowadays in FoRs ( Behl-Chadha & A ; Eimas, 1995 ; Quinn, 1994 ) . Piaget and Inhelder ( 1956 ) found kids aged 2-7 old ages old to be egocentric in their thought, and the impression that spacial thought and behavior may be egoistic in nature has been echoed by more recent research ( Wang & A ; Spelke 2002 ) . Importantly, around the age that kids are said to be egoistic, linguistic communication and peculiarly spacial linguistic communication, begins to emerge ( Barrett, 1996 ; Johnston, 1988 ) . However, contrary to the impression that spacial knowledge is egoistic some linguistic communications show a inclination to utilize absolute or intrinsic FoRs over the comparative FoR. Majid et Al. ( 2004 ) asked the inquiry of whether the relation FoR is easier learnt, or dominant, in the development of the egoistic kid ‘s spacial linguistic communication. Johnson ( 1988 ) highlighted that kids talking assorted linguistic communications, including English where the relation FoR is dominant, showed the ability to utilize the intrinsic FoR for “ front/back ” before they showed the ability to utilize the relation FoR. Brown and Levinson ( 2000 ) reported that Tzeltal kids aged 1.5-4 old ages old show an apprehension of the absolute FoR based around the “ acclivitous ” and “ downhill ” system before exposing intrinsic usage of projective prepositions to speak about object locations. Brown and Levinson besides found that older Tzeltal kids, aged 7-8 old ages old, could demo full usage of the absolute FoR, but that Western kids of the same age had non acquired the same degree of usage with their dominant relation FoR ( Levinson, 1996 ) . de Le & A ; oacute ; n ( 1994 ) presented grounds that suggested that the intrinsic FoR preceded development of the relation FoR, but both de de Le & A ; oacute ; n and Brown and Levinson ( 2000 ) suggested that the absolute FoR could develop at the same clip as the intrinsic FoR. Therefore, as Majid et Al. ( 2004 ) highlighted the grounds suggests that a relation FoR is non the first to develop, and that the relation FoR is non learnt more easy than the other FoRs.

It is besides of import to foreground that FoRs appear to be involved in non-linguistic spacial thought, every bit good as in linguistic communication to speak about object location ( see Brown and Levinson, 1993 ; Landau & A ; Hoffman, 2005 ; Levinson, 1996 ; Levinson, Kita, Haun & A ; Rasch, 2002 ; Li & A ; Gleitman, 2002 ) . However, the argument over whether linguistic communication determines thought, which is known as lingual relativity ( Kay & A ; Kempton, 1984 ) , or whether thought determines linguistic communication is excessively complex to discourse here. Extricating this relationship is particularly hard as lingual surveies by and large reflect relationships between linguistic communication and idea and make non let the illation of causing. Much farther research is needed to understand the relationship between spacial linguistic communication and spacial thought, but as Tversky and Lee ( 1998 ) pointed out the relationship is improbable to be deterministic, and more likely involves believing and linguistic communication in an intertwined relationship act uponing each other leting people to believe and speak about infinite. Therefore it seems likely that it is possible to speak about object locations utilizing FoRs because we besides think of infinite in footings of FoRs. It is besides of import to admit that FoRs and projective prepositions are non merely manner to speak about infinite, and other of import lingual calculations, such as those affecting topological dealingss, such as “ in ” and “ on ” , are besides used to speak about object locations ( Coventry, 1998 ; Coventry & A ; Garrod, 2004 ) . Further, the three FoRs discussed here have been proposed to be able to split into much more finely-grained FoRs, and a 4th FoR for gesture has been proposed ( Jackendoff, 1996b ) . However, the current essay has focused on the three chief types of FoR, intrinsic, comparative and absolute, and the grounds presented has suggested that FoRs are one agencies through which object location can be talked about.


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