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Les entités spatiales dans la langue : étude descriptive, formelle et expérimentale de la catégorisation

Michel Aurnague (CLLE), Maya Hickmann (SFLTAMP), Laure Vieu (IRIT)
Arxiv ID: 1003.4898Last updated: 7/17/2020
While previous linguistic and psycholinguistic research on space has mainly analyzed spatial relations, the studies reported in this paper focus on how language distinguishes among spatial entities. Descriptive and experimental studies first propose a classification of entities, which accounts for both static and dynamic space, has some cross-linguistic validity, and underlies adults' cognitive processing. Formal and computational analyses then introduce theoretical elements aiming at modelling these categories, while fulfilling various properties of formal ontologies (generality, parsimony, coherence...). This formal framework accounts, in particular, for functional dependences among entities underlying some part-whole descriptions. Finally, developmental research shows that language-specific properties have a clear impact on how children talk about space. The results suggest some cross-linguistic variability in children's spatial representations from an early age onwards, bringing into question models in which general cognitive capacities are the only determinants of spatial cognition during the course of development.

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