Spatial Strategies in the Description of Complex Configurations

Tenbrink, Thora, Coventry, Kenny and Andonova, Elena (2011) Spatial Strategies in the Description of Complex Configurations. Discourse Processes, 48 (4). pp. 237-266. ISSN 0163-853X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2010.549452

Abstract

How people describe complex arrangements of objects in a small-scale setting has not been sufficiently investigated to predict when discourse strategies shift versus remain stable. In a study involving 100 native German participants, we investigated speakers' choices of perspective, as well as location and orientation information, when describing arrangements of doll's furniture. Results point to a dominant preference for relative reference frames using an external, observer-based perspective, independent of functional aspects in the arrangement but influenced by object orientation. Objects were described either in relation to another object in the arrangement or in relation to the arrangement as a whole, with approximately equal preference. The speaker's current or imagined position was seldom used for reference in location descriptions, although it regularly served as a basis for describing object orientation. Generally, description features in this study differed from earlier studies addressing individual object-to-object or large-scale descriptions, demonstrating the impact of scale, configuration, and discourse task on speakers' choices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2011 22:05
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 11:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4046

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