Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Tyko Dirksmeyer

The Language of Vision II: Shape

We are interested to find how, and to what extent, your language makes shape distinctions. This area of visual experience is in principle “effable” in the sense that a child may easily learn shape categories from names labeling stable external exemplars which can be seen and felt. Nevertheless, there are very varying reports as to the extent to which languages “bother” to code shapes, as one might expect from differential inventories of traditional artifacts, different cultural preoccupations with craftsmanship, etc. The goal of this task is to investigate how languages encode shape – specifically (1) whether there is dedicated vocabulary for encoding shape and (2) how much consistency there is within a community for describing shape.


You must have completed Language of perception (pp. 10-21).
To conduct this task you need a shape booklet.


This Field Manual entry can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

The stimulus materials are not yet available for distribution.

How to cite this resource?

Levinson, S. C., & Majid, A. (2007). The language of vision II: Shape. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 26-28). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.468732.