LINGUIST List 3.439

Tue 26 May 1992

FYI: Call for Commentators

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  1. "Stevan Harnad", Landau/Jackendoff/Byrne on Spatial Cognition: BBS & PSYC Calls for

Message 1: Landau/Jackendoff/Byrne on Spatial Cognition: BBS & PSYC Calls for

Date: Mon, 25 May 92 20:45:11 EDLandau/Jackendoff/Byrne on Spatial Cognition: BBS & PSYC Calls for
From: "Stevan Harnad" <harnadPrinceton.EDU>
Subject: Landau/Jackendoff/Byrne on Spatial Cognition: BBS & PSYC Calls for

Below are two announcements. One is a Call for Commentators on a target
article to appear in BBS, the other is a Call for Commentators on a
target article that has just appeared in BBS's electronic counterpart,
PSYCOLOQUY. The articles happen to be on the same topic (spatial
cognition) but the two Calls (and journals) are independent; please
respond to the separately.

(1) Landau & Jackendoff on Spatial Cognition in BBS

Below is the abstract of a forthcoming target article on spatial
cognition by Landau & Jackendoff. It has been accepted for publication
in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), an international,
interdisciplinary journal that provides Open Peer Commentary on
important and controversial current research in the biobehavioral and
cognitive sciences. Commentators must be current BBS Associates or
nominated by a current BBS Associate. To be considered as a commentator
on this article, to suggest other appropriate commentators, or for
information about how to become a BBS Associate, please send email to: or harnadpucc.bitnet or write to:
BBS, 20 Nassau Street, #240, Princeton NJ 08542 [tel: 609-921-7771]

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give some
indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring your
areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator. An
electronic draft of the full text is available for inspection by anonymous
ftp according to the instructions that follow after the abstract.


 "What" and "Where" in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition

 Barbara Landau
 University of California, Irvine

 Ray Jackendoff
 Brandeis University

Fundamental to spatial knowledge in all species are the representations
underlying object recognition, object search, and navigation through
space. What sets humans apart from other species is our ability to
express spatial experience through language. In this target article, we
explore the language of objects and places, asking what geometric
properties are preserved in the representations underlying object nouns
and spatial prepositions in English. Evidence from these two aspects of
language suggests there are significant differences in the geometric richness
with which objects and places are encoded. When objects are named as
objects (i.e. with count nouns), detailed geometric properties of the
object -- principally its shape (axes, solid and hollow volumes,
surfaces, and parts) -- are represented. In contrast, when objects play
the role of either "figure" (located object) or "ground" (reference
object) in a locational expression, only very coarse geometric object
properties are represented, primarily the object's main axes. In
addition, the spatial functions encoded by spatial prepositions tend to
be nonmetric and relatively coarse, for example, "containment,"
"contact," "relative distance," and "relative direction." These
properties are representative of other languages as well. The striking
differences in the way that language encodes objects vs. places lead us
to suggest two explanations: First, a tendency for languages to level
out geometric detail from both object and place representations;
second, a nonlinguistic disparity between the representations of
"what" and "where" that underlies the representation of objects and
places in language. As a whole, the language of objects and places is
shown to converge with and enrich our understanding of the
corresponding spatial representations.


To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
this article, an electronic draft is retrievable by anonymous ftp from according to the instructions below (the filename is
bbs.landau.jackendoff). Please do not prepare a commentary on this
draft. Just let us know, after having inspected it, what relevant
expertise you feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the

 To retrieve a file by ftp from a Unix/Internet site, type either:
 When you are asked for your login, type:
 For your password, type:
 (make sure the "" sign gets through, it's important!)
 then change directories with:
cd pub/harnad
 To show the available files, type:
 Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
get bbs.landau.jackendoff
 When you have the file(s) you want, type:

JANET users can use the Internet file transfer utility at JANET node
UK.AC.FT-RELAY to get BBS files. Use standard file transfer, setting
the site to be UK.AC.FT-RELAY, the userid as anonymousedu.princeton,
the password as your own userid, and the remote filename to be the
filename according to Unix conventions (e.g. pub/harnad/bbs.article).
Lower case should be used where indicated, using quotes if necessary to
avoid automatic translation into upper case.

The above cannot be done interactively from Bitnet or other networks
directly, but there are two fileservers -- and
bitftppucc.bitnet -- that will do it for you. Send either on the one
line message:


for instructions (which will be similar to the above,
but will be in the form of a series of lines in an
email message that ftpmail or bitftp will then execute for you).
(2) Bryant on Spatial Representation in PSYCOLOQUY (electronic only)

The target article whose abstract appears below has just been published
in PSYCOLOQUY, BBS's electronic counterpart. It can be retrieved by
anonymous ftp from the same host and directory as described above;
its filename is:
or by sending the following one-line message to listservpucc.bitnet or
to :

get psyc 92-00049

Electronic commentary is now invited on this target article. A
commentary should not exceed 200 lines. It should have a
keyword-indexable title and the commentator's full name and
affiliation. All paragraphs should be numbered and reference citation
style should be as in the target article.
Please submit commentaries to:

psycpucc.bitnet or
 ------------------------------------------------------------------ Saturday May 23 1992
Copyright 1992 David J. Bryant
ISSN 1055-0143 (32 paragraphs, 48 references, 724 lines)


 David J. Bryant
 Department of Psychology 125 NI
 Boston, MA 02115

0.0 ABSTRACT: This target article reviews evidence for the functional
equivalence of spatial representations of observed environments and
environments described in discourse. It is argued that people possess a
spatial representation system that constructs mental spatial models on
the basis of perceptual and linguistic information. Evidence for a
distinct spatial system is reviewed.


PSYCOLOQUY is a refereed electronic journal (ISSN 1044-0143) sponsored
on an experimental basis by the American Psychological Association
and currently estimated to reach a readership of 20,000. PSYCOLOQUY
publishes brief reports of ideas and findings on which the author
wishes to solicit rapid peer feedback, international and
interdisciplinary ("Scholarly Skywriting"), in all areas of psychology
and its related fields (biobehavioral, cognitive, neural, social, etc.)
All contributions are refereed by members of PSYCOLOQUY's Editorial Board.

Target articles should normally not exceed 500 lines in length,
commentaries and responses should not exceed 200 lines. All target
articles must have (1) a short abstract (<100 words), (2) an indexable
title, (3) 6-8 indexable keywords, and the (4) author's full name and
institutional address. The submission should be accompanied by (5) a
rationale for soliciting commentary (e.g., why would commentary be
useful and of interest to the field? what kind of commentary do you
expect to elicit?) and (6) a list of potential commentators (with their
email addresses). Commentaries must have indexable titles and the
commentator's full name and institutional address (abstract is optional).
PSYCOLOQUY also publishes reviews of books in any of the obove fields;
these should normally be the same length as commentaries, but longer
reviews will be considered as well.

Authors of accepted manuscripts assign to PSYCOLOQUY the right to
distribute their text electronically and to archive and make it
permanently retrievable electronically. However, they retain the
copyright, and after it has appeared in PSYCOLOQUY authors may
republish their text any way they wish -- electronic or print -- as
long as they clearly acknowledge PSYCOLOQUY as its original locus of
publication. However, except in very special cases, agreed upon in
advance, contributions that have already been published or are being
considered for publication elsewhere are not eligible to be considered
for publication in PSYCOLOQUY,

Please submit all material to psycpucc.bitnet or

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