Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Simeon Floyd

The Language of Touch

Newborn infants learn about the world around them through touch. Piaget famously noted the importance of manual and oral exploration of objects for developing spatial cognition and knowledge of the world. There are a number of receptors and nerve endings in our skin that perform different information processing tasks. Pain, temperature, itchiness, etc. are all conveyed through the skin. The goal of this task is to investigate how languages encode tactile texture – specifically (1) whether there is dedicated vocabulary for encoding texture and (2) how much consistency there is within a community for describing tactile texture.


You must have completed Language of perception (pp. 10-21).
To conduct this task you need (i) texture booklet and (ii) blindfold.


Field Manual entry
The Language Of Touch (81.73 kB)

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How to cite this resource?

Majid, Asifa, Gunter Senft & Stephen C. Levinson. 2007. The language of touch. In Asifa Majid (ed.), Field Manual Volume 10, 32-35. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.