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Academic Paper


Title: Locative terms and spatial frames of reference in Wan
Paper URL: http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs/10.1515/JALL.2008.002
Author: Tatiana Nikitina
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.projectwan.org/nikitina
Institution: Freie Universität Berlin
Linguistic Field: Typology
Subject Language: Wan
Abstract: The paper is a study of spatial expressions in Wan (Mande, Côte d'Ivoire). The system of locative postpositions of Wan comprises two semantic classes which have distinct historical sources: terms referring to intrinsic parts of inanimate objects, and body part terms. I discuss differences in the use and interpretation of locative terms from these two classes. Some of these differences can be explained by different degrees of grammaticalization, in that body part terms are to a lesser extent specialized for expression of abstract spatial relations than object part terms.

I illustrate differences in interpretation between body part postpositions and object part postpositions by a pair of nearly synonymous postpositions tā 'on top of' and pēŋ 'at the head of', which rely in their interpretation on different frames of reference (fixed armatures vs. object-centered, Levinson 2003: 77–79). My analysis is based on the notion of internal asymmetry of the reference object, which allows the body part postpositions to pick out a spatial region in a way that is independent of the object's actual orientation. This example illustrates one way in which the internal asymmetry of the reference object constrains the interpretation of spatial adpositions.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 29-1(2008): 29-47
URL: http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs/10.1515/JALL.2008.002


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