Thema: Acquiring spatial language and spatial concepts
A foundational aspect of human cognition is the ability to parse our constantly unfolding experience into meaningful representations of spatial events and to communicate about these events with others. Understanding the nature and development of this ability requires a multi-pronged approach to the following key questions: What is the form of pre-linguistic spatial event representations? How do such representations make contact with language in both novice (child) and experienced (adult) communicators? How does cross-linguistic variation in spatial encoding affect the acquisition of language? In this talk, Anna Papafragou shows that theories of how spatial events are encoded in language can inform our understanding of how events are cognitively represented. These theories predict otherwise unexplained similarities in the way learners acquire spatial predicates across language communities and support the presence of deep homologies between linguistic and non-linguistic structure.
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