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Journal Article

Spatialization of time in Mian

MPS-Authors

Fedden,  Sebastian
Categories across Language and Cognition, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
University of Surrey;

Boroditsky,  Lera
Categories across Language and Cognition, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Stanford University;

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Fedden_Front_Psych_2012.pdf
(Publisher version), 616KB

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Citation

Fedden, S., & Boroditsky, L. (2012). Spatialization of time in Mian. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 485. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00485.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-18E6-4
Abstract
We examine representations of time among the Mianmin of Papua New Guinea. We begin by describing the patterns of spatial and temporal reference in Mian. Mian uses a system of spatial terms that derive from the orientation and direction of the Hak and Sek rivers and the surrounding landscape. We then report results from a temporal arrangement task administered to a group of Mian speakers. The results reveal evidence for a variety of temporal representations. Some participants arranged time with respect to their bodies (left to right or toward the body). Others arranged time as laid out on the landscape, roughly along the east/west axis (either east to west or west to east). This absolute pattern is consistent both with the axis of the motion of the sun and the orientation of the two rivers, which provides the basis for spatial reference in the Mian language. The results also suggest an increase in left-to-right temporal representations with increasing years of formal education (and the reverse pattern for absolute spatial representations for time). These results extend previous work on spatial representations for time to a new geographical region, physical environment, and linguistic and cultural system.