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The linguistic and cognitive representation of motion events

Objective

The study addresses the issue of the relation between language and cognition and seeks to assess whether language-specific patterns influence linguistic and cognitive activities across speakers of French and Polish. These languages differ in the way they encode two basic parameters associated with motion, Path and Manner: while Polish expresses Path in the prefix and Manner, obligatory, in the main verb [in-run, out-run], French tends to express Path in the main verb and Manner, optionally, in a gerund [enter (running), exit (running)].

The aim of the study is to scrutinize by psycholinguistic means the discursive and cognitive implications of these typological patterns. Grounded in an interdisciplinary approach, the study combines two psycholinguistic methods based on videotaped acted events of motion: a linguistic task of verbal description and a cognitive task of similarity judgments. The study seeks to assess whether and how language-specific patterns determine the particular aspects of motion events, such as Manner and/or Path, on which speakers focus in performing these tasks.

The projected contribution of the project is
(1) to document typological patterns and discursive construction of the information related to motion events in French and Polish,
(2) to evaluate the effect of language typology on linguistic and non-linguistic cognition, and
(3) to gain insight into factors that determine and constrain linguistic and non-linguistic processing.

The results of this study will enhance our understanding of cognitive processes underlying linguistic structure and will have implications for both linguistic and psychology.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-MOBILITY-5
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Coordinator

MAX PLANCK GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DES WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V. REPRESENTED BY THE MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOLINGUISTICS
Address
Wundtlaan 1
Nijmegen
Netherlands