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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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Verbs and Directions: The Interaction of Geometry and Function in Determining Orientation

Verbs and Directions: The Interaction of Geometry and Function in Determining Orientation

Chapter:
(p.93) 7 Verbs and Directions: The Interaction of Geometry and Function in Determining Orientation
Source:
Functional Features in Language and Space
Author(s):

CHRISTOPHER HABEL

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264339.003.0007

Describing verbally changes in space is based on the ability to focus on spatial properties and relations. Change of orientation is a specific type of spatial change, which has to be expressed by special verbs, for example the German drehen (‘turn’). Furthermore, there are adverbials peculiar to modifying a change of orientation VPs, for example, rechtsherum (‘clockwise’). This chapter uses situations of turning, verbally encoded by drehen-descriptions to exemplify the linguistic principles of encoding Orientation and Change of Orientation: The Bearer of Turning, that is the object that performs a change of orientation, provides a Front-Axis, whose direction changes during the temporal phase focused in the utterance. In selecting the front-axis and choosing relations to describe specific properties, as final orientation or direction of turning, speakers' assumptions about functional properties and relations are the frame for establishing the spatial concept fundamental for verbalization, namely orientation.

Keywords:   drehen, German verb, space, turning, orientation, linguistics

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