Language within your reach: near-far perceptual space and spatial demonstratives

Coventry, Kenny, Valdes, Berenice, Castillo, Alejandro and Guijarro-Fuentes, Pedro (2008) Language within your reach: near-far perceptual space and spatial demonstratives. Cognition, 108 (3). pp. 889-895. ISSN 0010-0277

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Spatial demonstratives (this/that) play a crucial role when indicating object locations using language. However, the relationship between the use of these proximal and distal linguistic descriptors and the near (peri-personal) versus far (extra-personal) perceptual space distinction is a source of controversy [Kemmerer, D. (1999). “Near” and “far” in language and perception. Cognition 73, 35–63], and has been hitherto under investigated. Two experiments examined the influence of object distance from speaker, tool use (participants pointed at objects with their finger/arm or with a stick), and interaction with objects (whether or not participants placed objects themselves) on spatial demonstrative use (e.g. this/that red triangle) in English (this/that) and Spanish (este/ese/aquel). The results show that the use of demonstratives across two languages is affected by distance from speaker and by both tool use and interaction with objects. These results support the view that spatial demonstrative use corresponds with a basic distinction between near and far perceptual space.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Space perception, language
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 06 May 2010 12:54
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 16:28

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