Article published in:The Categorization of Spatial Entities in Language and Cognition
Edited by Michel Aurnague, Maya Hickmann † and Laure Vieu
[Human Cognitive Processing 20] 2007
► pp. 153–175
Categorizing spatial entities with frontal orientation
The role of function, motion and saliency in the processing of the French Internal Localization Nouns avant/devant
This chapter presents the results froma pointing task that examined French adult’s processing of Internal Localization Nouns (ILNs), with particular attention to avant (‘front’) and devant (‘front surface’). Performance in this task shows that the parameters governing the frontal orientation(s) implied by these markers (“static function”, “dynamic function”, “aerodynamicity” and “saliency”) can be ordered according to their importance during processing. It is then shown that each ILN favors a particular property: whereas avant is tightly linked to motion, the processing of devant is more sensitive to static function. Additional results based on a judgment task also throw some light on subjects’ behavior and strategies. In conclusion, we discuss the properties singled out and their potential role in the categorization of spatial entities.
Published online: 18 April 2007