Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Kognitive Sprachforschung

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Abstract Majid

The body is widely regarded as a template for spatial cognition and spatial language. However, recent cross-cultural work suggests that the conception of the body – as reflected in language – is not universal. The basic segments and categories that are recognized across languages vary substantially, with a third of the world’s languages not lexically distinguishing between “hand” and “arm”, for example. It appears that there are a not a universal set of “body parts” that get encoded in language, raising the question – what is the precise relationship between linguistic and non-linguistic categories of the body.