Spatial axes in language and conceptualisation
Krista Ojutkangas’ paper, “Spatial axes in language and conceptualization: the case of bidirectional constructions,” is a usage-based study of the basic axes in the conceptual partition of space. The focus is on <i>bidirectional </i>constructions in Finnish: on descriptions of spatial relations where both opposing poles of a spatial axis are explicitly mentioned in a single sentence, instances such as ‘the bride and the groom were sitting <i>behind the table </i>and the guests were sitting <i>in front of the table</i>’. Ojutkangas shows that the inherent bipolarity of the basic spatial axes can be utilized as a relatively systematic strategy in spatial conceptualization. It also shows that a conceptualization strategy primarily used in spatial language can have further functions in discourse, in building the narrative, and in reference tracking. The analysis of bidirectional and similar constructions contributes to our knowledge of spatial conceptualization and language generally.