Using space to describe space: Perspective in speech, sign, and gesture

Using space to describe space: Perspective in speech, sign, and gesture Describing the location of a landmark in ascene typically requires taking a perspective. Descriptions of scenes with several landmarksuse either a route perspective, where theviewpoint is within the scene or a surveyperspective, where the viewpoint is outside, ora mixture of both. Parallel to this, AmericanSign Language (ASL) uses two spatial formats,viewer space, in which the described space isconceived of as in front of the speaker, ordiagrammatic space, in which the describedspace is conceived of as from outside, usuallyabove. In the present study, speakers ofEnglish or ASL described one of two memorizedmaps. ASL signers were more likely to adopt asurvey perspective than English speakers,indicating that language modality can influenceperspective choice. In ASL, descriptions froma survey perspective used diagrammatic space,whereas descriptions from a route perspectiveused viewer space. In English, iconic gesturesaccompanying route descriptions used the full3-D space, similar to viewer space, whilegestures accompanying survey descriptions useda 2-D horizontal or vertical plane similar todiagrammatic space. Thus, the two modes ofexperiencing environments, from within and fromwithout, are expressed naturally in speech,sign, and gesture. Spatial Cognition and Computation Springer Journals

Using space to describe space: Perspective in speech, sign, and gesture

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology
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