Spatial frames of reference in aṣ-Ṣāniˁ arabic: Preliminary observations of language-to-cognition correlation

Letizia Cerqueglini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

I compare linguistic and cognitive representations of projective spatial relations in traditional aṣ-Ṣāniˁ Arabic (TAA), i.e., application of spatial frames of reference (FoRs). TAA uses all three FoRs in language, selected according to properties of Ground objects (Gs). Absolute FoR is used with non-prototypical arrays and unknown Gs. It is anchored in cardinal directions or prominent landmarks, according to task. G-based FoR selection is absent from cognition, where only the Absolute FoR is applied. Since Bedouin languages use Absolute FoR, recognizing saliency to astronomical directions, I hypothesize the primacy of the astronomically anchored Absolute FoR, as in TAA cognitive bedrock, with respect to other FoRs later developed by language. Deterministic claims on the innovative position of language with respect to cognition are confirmed, yet TAA language-to-cognition mismatch indicates prevention or delay in achieving mutual isomorphism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-127
Number of pages57
JournalStudi e Saggi Linguistici
Volume57
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Aṣ-Ṣāniˁ Arabic
  • Frames of reference
  • Language-to-cognition correlation

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