Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 2
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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This paper analyzes frames of reference involved in linguistic expression of spatial relations of objects, using an experimental method. Objects with and without intrinsic orientation are used as the figure object, and it is demonstrated that there exists in Japanese a phenomenon we call ‘figure-aligned mapping’, where the coordinate system on the figure object is projected onto the ground object. This is what previous studies have not reported or argued. We claim that this figure-aligned mapping belongs to the intrinsic frame of reference among the three (intrinsic, relative, and absolute) frames of reference proposed by Levinson, and some revision of his definition of the intrinsic frame is proposed so that figure-aligned mapping can be accommodated in it. The result of this study confirms the importance of the notion of coordinate system in the discussion of frames of reference.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): coordinate system; figure; frame of reference; orientation; spatial relation
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