HERE, NEAR, FAR
Spatial conceptualisation and cognition in a cross-linguistic perspective (English vs. Russian)
This chapter explores variation and similarities in the conceptualisation of space in Russian and English on the basis of selected terms of ‘location’ and ‘proximity/distance’. It adopts the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach, which identifies eight semantic universals of space, three of which, HERE, NEAR, FAR, were tested for their realisation in both languages. A semantic analysis of terms denoting ‘here’, ‘near’, ‘not far’, and ‘far’ confirms the presence of the three universal primes in English and Russian, though they differ in how they conceptually carve up the notion of space. The study has implications for research into bilingualism and language acquisition and demonstrates that the NSM formulae can be used experimentally to test spatial conceptualisation and cognition cross-linguistically.