Topological spatial representation across and within languages
IN and ON in Mandarin Chinese and English
This paper examines the commonalities and variations between and within groups of English and Chinese (Mandarin) speakers in using terms to refer to the topological spatial concepts of containment (expressed by in and related terms in English) and support (expressed by on and related terms in English). In addition to crosslinguistic similarities, systematic differences in the use of linguistic expressions by Mandarin and English speakers for these topological spatial relationships were found, as well as systematic individual differences within each language group. Together, these findings point to potential underlying differences in how speakers of English and Mandarin conceptualize these two topological spatial categories.
Keywords: spatial prepositions, crosslinguistic differences, English, Mandarin
Published online: 05 December 2011
Cited by 2 other publications
Knotková, Magdaléna & Wei-lun Lu
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