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Functional Features in Language and SpaceInsights from Perception, Categorization, and Development$
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Laura Carlson and Emile van der Zee

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264339

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264339.001.0001

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An Ecological Approach to the Interface between Language and Vision

An Ecological Approach to the Interface between Language and Vision

Chapter:
(p.53) 5 An Ecological Approach to the Interface between Language and Vision
Source:
Functional Features in Language and Space
Author(s):

RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264339.003.0005

Spatial relations are represented in language as well as in perception. On the surface, the relationship between these forms of spatial representation is problematic. Language is schematic and context-sensitive while perception is detailed. Nevertheless, both spatial language and perception occur in a common ecological context. A computational characterization of the ecological context, based on the mathematical notions of co-dimension and invariance shows that spatial features are organized in the form of a hierarchical structure consisting of three qualitatively different categories: Coordinate Frames, Topological Structures, and Metric Structures. Coordinate Frames and Topological Structures are present in language as well as in perception, while Metric Structures are present only in perception. This chapter argues that language and perception are neither disjoint, nor are they isomorphic. They share a core set of representations — the coordinate frame and topological representations. This core set interfaces with other representations that may be language or perception specific.

Keywords:   spatial relations, perception, spatial language, representation, coordinate frames, topological structures, Mmtric structures

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