Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions

Vorwerg C, Weiß P (2010)
Spatial Cognition and Computation 10(4): 247-291.

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Abstract
Spatial prepositions, more specifically projective prepositions, such as in front of or behind can be interpreted in different ways. Their interpretation depends on the spatial perspective taken as the basis for determining the reference frame's orientation. In 3 series of placement experiments with German speakers, we examined whether the interpretation of projective prepositions in a motion context is affected by the verb used in a spatial instruction. Results suggest that verb semantics is a factor accounting for previously observed seemingly social-situational differences in the interpretation of projective prepositions. Specifically, the findings indicate that, relative to a car as reference object, the semantic aspect of motion interruption associated with some verbs leads to a higher proportion of deictic interpretations determined by the direction from which one is approaching the car. This verb effect on the interpretation of spatial prepositions can be explained by an activation of the temporal dimension through stop-implying verbs, which is integrated into the spatial situation model of the perceived dynamic scene making the deictic frame of reference more compatible. The experimental evidence also shows that verb semantics can account for previously unexplained cross-linguistic differences, and is related to patterns concerning the prepositional inventory of languages.
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Vorwerg C, Weiß P. Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions. Spatial Cognition and Computation. 2010;10(4):247-291.
Vorwerg, C., & Weiß, P. (2010). Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions. Spatial Cognition and Computation, 10(4), 247-291.
Vorwerg, C., and Weiß, P. (2010). Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions. Spatial Cognition and Computation 10, 247-291.
Vorwerg, C., & Weiß, P., 2010. Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions. Spatial Cognition and Computation, 10(4), p 247-291.
C. Vorwerg and P. Weiß, “Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions”, Spatial Cognition and Computation, vol. 10, 2010, pp. 247-291.
Vorwerg, C., Weiß, P.: Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions. Spatial Cognition and Computation. 10, 247-291 (2010).
Vorwerg, Constanze, and Weiß, Petra. “Verb Semantics Affects the Interpretation of Spatial Prepositions”. Spatial Cognition and Computation 10.4 (2010): 247-291.
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