According to the findings in Graf (2006), spatial language development is not finalized during the very first years of ontogenesis. However, once children enter the adolescent stage, little – if any – further development can be found. This overall developmental trend holds both with respect to the linguistic encoding of the various spatial categories and with respect to the use of the various spatial categories on the different levels of abstraction.
Whereas the very first years of spatial ontogenesis have been analysed extensively in language acquisition research, very few studies exist that concentrate on children older than five or six years. The overall aim of Graf (2006) therefore was to shed light on the secondary phase of spatial language development, i.e. on the development in speakers aged 10 to 19 and it was found out that by then speakers have mastered both literal and metaphorical space in language.
Therefore, decisive steps in spatial language acquisition should take place roughly between children’s sixth and tenth year of age. In this analysis I want to start closing the gap between young children’s spatial language and older children and adolescents’ spatial language and see how and when these decisive steps in the ontogenetic development of literal and metaphorical space take place. The Polytechnic of Wales corpus serves as data.