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Modes of pointing to existing spaces and the use of frames of reference

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This paper aims at providing a systematic framework for investigating differences in how people point to existing spaces. Pointing is considered according to two conditions: (1) A non-transposed condition where the body of the speaker always constitutes the origo and where the various types of pointing are differentiated by the status of the target and (2) a transposed condition where both the distant figure and the distant ground are identified and their relation specified according to two frames of reference (FoRs): the egocentric FoR (where spatial relationships are coded with respect to the speaker’s point of view) and the geocentric FoR (where spatial relationships are coded in relation to external cues in the environment). The preference for one or the other frame of reference not only has consequences for pointing to real spaces but has some resonance in other domains, constraining the production of gesture in these related domains.

Keywords: Yucatec Maya; frames of reference; geocentric gesture; pointing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011


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