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COVALI : Perceptive and motor constraints and linguistic variation


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Team webmaster : Véronique BOULENGER

In this transversal theme, coordinated by Véronique Boulenger, we combine the skills from DDL members in the semantic typology of the expression of the trajectory (DiLiS axis) and in the field of sensorimotor cognition (DENDY axis) in order to understand why, at the linguistic level, some structures of meaning seem to predominate.
Some areas of an individual's life are so pervasive that each language must be able to describe them: this is the case, for example, of sensory perception (e.g. visual) and of our ability to move around or move objects in the world. If these domains constitute cognitive universals present in all languages, like cardinal points of a conceptual space, each language will nevertheless print its own signature within this conceptual space. Despite this linguistic variation, certain regularities or preferences emerge and tend to group together languages, that are not only genetically similar but that also belong to different families.
The representation of the trajectory (i.e. movement in space) seems to constitute a structuring key point in the expression of many fields as underlined by the frequent use of trajectory metaphors (e.g. following the path, raising the volume, etc.). From a psychological point of view, movement in space pertains to both perceptual cognition (space) and motor cognition (movement). Each of these cognitive domains being likely to impose its own constraints, COVALI examines these two topics through 4 main projects.

  Motor constraints
  Relevance of visuospatial representations

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