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Conference Information

Full Title: Sociotopography: the Interplay of Language, Culture, and Environment

Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Start Date: 15-Dec-2017 - 15-Dec-2017
Contact: Alice Gaby
Meeting Email: click here to access email
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Meeting Description: This workshop explores the interplay of language, culture, and environment ('sociotopography'), especially as it pertains to spatial language.

Considerable diversity in spatial reference across languages is well attested, both in the linguistic means by which spatial categories are expressed, and in the categories themselves (Levinson 2003; Levinson & Wilkins 2006; Pederson et al. 1998). Spatial relations of any type can be expressed using language. However, in perhaps all languages some spatial concepts are lexicalised or expressed in a grammaticized way, while others are relegated to periphrastic expression. These lexicalized and grammaticized expressions are key to understanding the extent to which spatial reference displays universal tendencies, and the extent to which variation is systematic. Although considerable cross-linguistic diversity exists in spatial categories, universal tendencies can nonetheless be detected, and salient landscape and other external-world features seem to play a role in the detail of systems involving absolute Frame of Reference (FoR) (Palmer 2002, 2015), and even in FoR choice (see Majid et al. 2004; Bohnemeyer et al. 2014). However, those aspects of the environment that are perceived as salient vary across cultures, and the nature of the interaction between humans and their environment plays a crucial role, as seen in demographic variation within individual languages in tendencies in FoR choice (e.g. Pederson 1993), and in geocentric versus egocentric strategies more generally (Palmer et al. 2016). These findings prompted Palmer et al. (2016) to propose a Sociotopographic Model, which models the interplay of the physical environment of the language locus, sociocultural interaction with the environment, and the linguistic repertoire available to speakers. This workshop seeks to bring together scholars working in linguistic spatial reference in a diverse range of languages in a diverse range of environments, in order to explore the extent to which the Sociotopographic model adequately captures the interplay of the various linguistic, conceptual and environmental forces at work in linguistic spatial reference, and the extent to which the model reveals systematic variation in some of the cross-linguistic diversity observed in this area of language.
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Typology
LL Issue: 28.187

This is a session of the following meeting:
12th Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology 2017

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