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ERIC Number: EJ1137573
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Uphill and Downhill in a Flat World: The Conceptual Topography of the Yupno House
Cooperrider, Kensy; Slotta, James; Núñez, Rafael
Cognitive Science, v41 n3 p768-799 Apr 2017
Speakers of many languages around the world rely on body-based contrasts (e.g., "left/right") for spatial communication and cognition. Speakers of Yupno, a language of Papua New Guinea's mountainous interior, rely instead on an environment-based "uphill/downhill" contrast. Body-based contrasts are as easy to use indoors as outdoors, but environment-based contrasts may not be. Do Yupno speakers still use "uphill/downhill" contrasts indoors and, if so, how? We report three studies on spatial communication within the Yupno house. Even in this flat world, "uphill/downhill" contrasts are pervasive. However, the terms are not used according to the slopes beyond the house's walls, as reported in other groups. Instead, the house is treated as a microworld, with a "conceptual topography" that is strikingly reminiscent of the physical topography of the Yupno valley. The phenomenon illustrates some of the distinctive properties of environment-based reference systems, as well as the universal power and plasticity of spatial contrasts.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Papua New Guinea
Grant or Contract Numbers: SBE0541957