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    Re: language and spatio-temporal orientation
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2010 Aug 31, 10:58 -0400
    Patrick - 

    Yes, that's the article.   None of the papers that I've found really dig as deep as I'd like, so I'm left scratching my head.   It is an interesting article, though.

    John H. 

    On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 10:15 AM, Patrick Goold <goold@vwc.edu> wrote:
    I have a PDF file of the Cecil Brown article, "Where do cardinal direction terms come from?".  Wasn't it you who cited this article in a previous post?  It is more anthropology.  I am not sure it digs as deep as you want.  It does reveal somewhat surprising cultural differences in cardinal direction systems.


    On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 9:34 AM, Apache Runner <apacherunner@gmail.com> wrote:
    Thanks , Frank.

    There's a recapitulation of the idea that in an aboriginal Australian language, they only use the cardinal points to describe locations.   But, I'm still perplexed - where does the language get the names of the cardinal points from in the first place?   It's not like we're born knowing the direction north - or likewise - at some point you have to be taught a language, so you have to be told where north is.   How does that arise?    I guess this is just a complaint about the reporting of the anthropology - they like to come up with a bedazzling point, but then don't dig into it further.

    On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 10:21 PM, Frank Reed <FrankReed@historicalatlas.com> wrote:

    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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    Dr. Patrick Goold
    Department of Philosophy
    Virginia Wesleyan College
    Norfolk, VA 23502
    757 455 3357

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