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CHAT: Directions (was: Re: CHAT: living conditions/conditionally)

From:daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>
Date:Saturday, August 19, 2000, 13:15
Tom Wier wrote:

> Yoon Ha Lee wrote: > > Speaking of which, are there any languages that *don't* use right/left, > > or use them differently, or...? I've always wondered about that.
> Yes, actually. There are some Plains Indian languages in North America > which have absolute reference points, based on the cardinal directions, > rather than relative ones. It's pretty easy to understand in what kind of > environment one or the other is preferred.
And sometimes they also use words like 'sun' for 'south', (rather than 'east' or 'west' which would be more expected) because the sun disappears behind some mountains or trees when it's in the south. There are also languages which see right/left from the opposite perspective (I think these are the Australian ones). If in English we say that the jar is to the right of the tree, they say the opposite because they see right/left from the point of view of what you're looking at, not from your own point of view. I know I have some notes on this somewhere... Hm. This was not what I was looking for, but let's see. * Inherent reference frames - localization depends on the inherent property of the landmark (e.g. the front of back of the house). * Deictic reference frames - localization is in relation to the beholder. _____ __ | | / \ |___| \__/ Two possibilities: - "aligned orientation field": the circle to the right of the square. - "facing orientation field": the circle to the left of the square. * Geocentric reference frames - localization according to absolute fixed geographical landmarks, such as the four cardinal points or directions "towards land" "towards the sea" etc. E.g. Guugu-Yimidhirr (Australian) There are other labels for these three possibilities as well. Soteria Svorou "The Grammar of Space", 1993, would probably make for good reading. Daniel