Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Stephen C. Levinson

Space project (36 entries)

The Space project investigates how people talk about and understand space in large-scale space for navigation and small-scale space for locating objects, and how space structures our understanding of other domains, such as time.

(10 entries)

Body

This task investigates the extensional meaning of body part terms, in particular the terms for the upper and lower limbs. Two questions are addressed, namely (i) are the boundaries ofMore →

Route Description Elicitation

When we want to describe a path through space, but do not share a common perceptual field with a conversation partner, language has to work doubly hard. This task investigatesMore →

Recognitional Deixis

“Recognitional” words and constructions enshrine our systematic reliance on shared knowledge in dedicated morphological forms and usage patterns. For example, English has a large range of terms for use whenMore →

Exploring the Intrinsic Frame of Reference

We can describe the position of one item with respect to another using a number of different ‘frames of reference’. For example, I can use a ‘deictic’ frame that involvesMore →

Ethnography of Pointing Questionnaire

Pointing gestures are recognised to be a primary manifestation of human social cognition and communicative capacity. The goal of this task is to collect empirical descriptions of pointing practices inMore →

Preliminary ‘Come’ and ‘Go’ Questionnaire

The encoding of apparently ‘simple’ movement concepts such as ‘COME’ and ‘GO’ can differ widely across languages (e.g., in regard to specifying direction of motion relative to the speaker). ThisMore →

“Locally-Anchored Spatial Gestures”: Historical Description of the Local Environment As a Gesture Elicitation Task

Gesture is an integral part of face-to-face communication, and provides a rich area for cross-cultural comparison. “Locally-anchored spatial gestures” are gestures that are roughly oriented to the actual geographical directionMore →

Topological Relations Pictures: Topological Paths

This entry suggests ways to elicit descriptions of caused motion involving topological relations (the domain of English put IN/ON/TOGETHER, take OUT/OFF/APART, etc.). There is a large amount of cross-linguistic variationMore →

Hypotheses Concerning Basic Locative Constructions and the Verbal Elements Within Them

Languages differ widely in terms of how they encode the fundamental concepts of location and position. For some languages, verbs have an important role to play in describing situations (e.g.,More →

Topological Relations Pictures: Static Relations

The precursor to the Bowped stimuli, this entry suggests various spatial configurations to explore using real objects, rather than the line drawings used in Bowped.