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Spatial perception and cognition is fundamental to human abilities to navigate through space, identify and locate objects, and track entities in motion. Moreover, research findings in the last couple of decades reveal that many of the mechanisms humans employ to achieve this are largely innate, providing abilities to store ‘cognitive maps’ for locating themselves and others, locations, directions and routes. In this humans are like many other species. However, unlike other species, humans can employ language in order to represent space. The human linguistic ability combined with the human ability for spatial representation apparently results in rich, creative and sometimes surprising extensions of representations for three-dimensional physical space.


The present volume bring together 19 articles from leading scholars who investigate the relationship between spatial cognition and spatial language.  The volume is fully representative of the state of the art in terms of language and space research, and point to new directions in terms of findings, theory, and practice. 

Download the complete PDF version of the book, here


I  Perception and space

1.  The perceptual basis of spatial representation.  Vyvyan Evans (Bangor University)  

II The interaction between language and spatial cognition
2. Language and space: Momentary interactions.  Barbara Landau, Banchiamlack Dessalegn, and Ariel Micah Goldberg (Johns Hopkins University)

3.  Language and inner space.  Benjamin Bergen, Carl Polley, and Kathryn Wheeler  (University of Hawai’i, Manoa)


III Psycho- and neuro-linguistic approaches to spatial representation
4.  Inside in and on: Typological and psycholinguistic perspectives.

Michele Feist  (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
5.  Parsing space around objects. 

Laura Carlson  (University of Notre Dame)
6.  A neuroscientific perspective on the linguistic encoding of categorical spatial relations. 

David Kemmerer  (Purdue University)

IV  Theoretical approaches to spatial representation in language

7.  The genesis of spatial terms. 

Claude Vandeloise  (Louisiana State University)

8.  Forceful prepositions. 

Joost Zwarts (Radboud University Nijmegen & Utrecht University)

9.  From the spatial to the non-spatial: The ‘state’ lexical concepts of in, on and at. 

Vyvyan Evans  (Bangor University)    

V  Spatial representation in specific languages
10.  Static topological relations in Basque. 

Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano (Universidad de Zaragoza)
11.   Taking the Principled Polysemy Model of Spatial Particles Beyond English: The Case of Russian za.  Darya Shakhova and Andrea Tyler (Georgetown University)
12.  Frames of reference, effects of motion, and lexical meanings of Japanese FRONT/BACK terms.  Kazuko Shinohara (University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo) and Yoshihiro Matsunaka  (Tokyo Polytechnic University).

VI Space in gesture and sign-language 
13.  How spoken language and signed language structure space differently. 

Leonard Talmy  (State University of New York , Buffalo)
14.  Geometric and image-schematic patterns in gesture space. 
Irene Mittelberg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

VII  Motion
15.  Translocation, language and the categorization of experience. 

Jordan Zlatev, Johan Blomberg ( Lund University ), and Caroline David (Université de Montpellier 3)
16.  Motion: A conceptual typology. 

Stéphanie Pourcel  (Bangor University)


VIII The relation between space, time and modality
17.  Space for thinking. 
Daniel Casasanto (Stanford University) 
18.  Temporal frames of reference. 

Jörg Zinken  (Portsmouth University)
19.  From mind to grammar: Coordinate systems, prepositions, constructions. 
Paul Chilton  (University of Lancaster) 

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