Spatial Strategies in the Description of Complex Configurations

Tenbrink, T. and Coventry, K.R. and Andonova, E. (2011) Spatial Strategies in the Description of Complex Configurations. Discourse Processes, 48 ((4)). pp. 237-266. DOI: 10.1080/0163853X.2010.549452

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How people describe complex arrangements of objects in a small-scale setting has not been sufficiently investigated to predict when discourse strategies shift versus remain stable. In a study involving 100 native German participants, we investigated speakers' choices of perspective, as well as location and orientation information, when describing arrangements of doll's furniture. Results point to a dominant preference for relative reference frames using an external, observer-based perspective, independent of functional aspects in the arrangement but influenced by object orientation. Objects were described either in relation to another object in the arrangement or in relation to the arrangement as a whole, with approximately equal preference. The speaker's current or imagined position was seldom used for reference in location descriptions, although it regularly served as a basis for describing object orientation. Generally, description features in this study differed from earlier studies addressing individual object-to-object or large-scale descriptions, demonstrating the impact of scale, configuration, and discourse task on speakers' choices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Linguistics and English Language
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 17:04
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2015 03:21
ISSN: 0163-853X
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/1933
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1080/0163853X.2010.549452
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