Re: Are 'spatial relations' Universals?

Christopher Pound (
5 Jul 1995 17:24:20 GMT

In article <3tebps$>,
David Mark <> wrote:
>Does anyone out there in net-land know of any specific work on the possible
>universality of basic spatial relations, on their formal recognition
>or cognitive confirmation, or their experiential basis, on their relation to
>Image-schemata, etc.? Or have any nice counter-examples to my explicit and
>implicit claims regarding spatial relations, above?

I think Whorf posits 'up' as one example of a universal concept on or
about pages 36-37 in _Language, thought, and reality_. Then, his article
on the relationship of habitual thought and language ends with a note on
how spatial concepts might vary. An example of such variation is offered in
"Notes on Hopi Architecture" (or whatever, I can't remember the titles well).
This isn't a reversal of his position that there is a "common stock of
conceptions" holding the principle of communicability of ideas by language,
but rather a further development of it (note that the architecture piece
explicitly addresses the problem of translation).

Christopher Pound ( | They think they are Parisians, but
Department of Anthropology, Rice U. | they are nothing. -- Pierre Bourdieu