Conference Proceedings

Socioculturally mediated responses to environment shaping universals and diversity in spatial language

Bill Palmer, Alice Gaby, J Lum, Jonathan Schlossberg, Paolo Fogliaroni (ed.), Andrea Ballatore (ed.), Elisio Clementini (ed.)

Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography | Springer International Publishing | Published : 2018


This paper reports on an empirical experiment-based study testing the extent to which systems of linguistic spatial reference correlate with aspects of the physical environment in which a language community lives. We investigated linguistic spatial behaviour in two unrelated languages in both similar and contrasting locations, ranging from atoll islands to urban environments, using standardised tests whose results were subject to quantitative analysis. Our findings reveal significant variation in spatial referential strategy preference in the two languages. Some preferences correlated with environment (e.g. island vs. urban). However, others correlated with degree and nature of interaction w..

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University of Melbourne Researchers