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Description - Space in Language and Cognition by Stephen C. Levinson

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 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 most current 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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521011969
ISBN-10: 0521011965
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Pages: 414
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 1-Mar-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Stephen C. Levinson

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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