Language Culture and Cognition: Series Number 5 Space in Language and Cognition: Explorations in Cognitive Diversity

Language Culture and Cognition: Series Number 5 Space in Language and Cognition: Explorations in Cognitive Diversity

By: Stephen C. Levinson (author)Paperback

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Languages differ in how they describe space, and such differences between languages can be used to explore the relation between language and thought. This 2003 book shows that even in a core cognitive domain like 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 thinking in the cognitive sciences underestimates the transformative power of language on thinking. The book will be of interest to linguists, psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers, and especially to students of spatial cognition.

About 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).


Preface; 1. The intellectual background: two millenia of Western ideas about spatial thinking; 2. Frames of reference; 3. Linguistic diversity; 4. Absolute minds: glimpses into two cultures; 5. Diversity in mind: methods and results from a cross-linguistic sample; 6. Beyond language: frames of reference in wayfinding and pointing; 7. Language and thought.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780521011969
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 414
  • ID: 9780521011969
  • weight: 680
  • ISBN10: 0521011965

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