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    Re: language and spatio-temporal orientation
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 Aug 30, 19:21 -0700

    Back in July, the issue of orientation and culture came up. Here's a nice article on the topic from yesterday's NY Times:

    A brief extract:
    "The area where the most striking evidence for the influence of language on thought has come to light is the language of space � how we describe the orientation of the world around us. Suppose you want to give someone directions for getting to your house. You might say: �After the traffic lights, take the first left, then the second right, and then you�ll see a white house in front of you. Our door is on the right.� But in theory, you could also say: �After the traffic lights, drive north, and then on the second crossing drive east, and you�ll see a white house directly to the east. Ours is the southern door.� These two sets of directions may describe the same route, but they rely on different systems of coordinates. The first uses egocentric coordinates, which depend on our own bodies: a left-right axis and a front-back axis orthogonal to it. The second system uses fixed geographic directions, which do not rotate with us wherever we turn."


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