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LINGUIST List 18.1512

Thu May 17 2007

Qs: Definition for Ling/Cognitive Term; Relative Temporal Adverbs

Editor for this issue: Kevin Burrows <kevinlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Bunny Richardson, Definition for Linguistic/Cognitive Term
        2.    Denis Keyer, Relative Temporal Adverbs

Message 1: Definition for Linguistic/Cognitive Term
Date: 15-May-2007
From: Bunny Richardson <bunny.richardsondit.ie>
Subject: Definition for Linguistic/Cognitive Term

I am doing listening tests involving transcription of recorded speech
snippets. I noted subjects tended to extract the meaning of the snippet,
when longer than 7+/- and this is due to the 'wrap-up effect', where they
retain the meaning of the snippet but not the exact linguistic elements as
they appeared in the snippet. I need a reference and definition for
'wrap-up effect', if possible?!

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Message 2: Relative Temporal Adverbs
Date: 15-May-2007
From: Denis Keyer <keyermail.ru>
Subject: Relative Temporal Adverbs

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to submit a question which is partly close to the subject of the
survey posted on orientational metaphors posted here:


I am collecting examples for the semantic model ''behind = osterior/future, in
front of = preceding/past''. Strangely enough, this model, which seems to be
attested almost in all languages of the earth, is often regarded as somewhat
peculiar and not characteristic for modern people (for whom the future ''lies
onward'', not ''behind'') and is explained by cultural phenomena or difference
in mentality. It often stated, for example, that ancient peoples, in contrast to
us, people of modernity, imagined their future BEHIND them, because it was
''unseen'' or because they respected their ancestors and so on.

In my view, such universal model must be rooted in cognition and perception of
spatial and temporal concepts. The events located in time are metaphorically
described in different languages as men or animals moving in the same direction:
the one who is going ahead, is ''preceding'' and comes ''before'' (earlier); the
one who follows in his footsteps, is ''posterior'' and comes ''afterwards'' (in
some languages ''behind''). The spatial ''frame of reference'' for this model is
not relative (deictic), but intrinsic: the future lies not ''behind OUR back'',
but it comes behind the back OF PRECEDING EVENTS'', just as the follower is
behind the back of his predecessor.

Now my questions concern the languages which are considered to have no relative
spatial terms like ''front/back/right/left'' and operate with absolute terms
only (like ''north/south, uphill/downhill''), that is Guugu Yimithirr in
Australia, Tzeltal of Mayan Indians and Hai//om (?) in the Namibian Kalahari (I
primarily depend here on excellent works by Stephen C. Levinson).

(1) Is it really so that these people have no words for ''face'' or ''back''
(say, of a human or an animal)?

(2) How do they describe preceding and posterior events? (not necessarily ''the
future'' and ''the past'', but simple adverbs like ''before/after'', for
example ''before breakfast'' or ''after tomorrow'').

Thank you in advance, excuse me for being garrulous.
Yours sincerely
Denis Keyer
St. Petersburg State University

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science

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