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Asifa Majid

Pages 99 - 103

The body is widely regarded as a template for spatial cognition, and since topology has been treated as a basis for mereological relations (Casati & Varzi 1999); the body would appear a paradigm source for deriving mereological structure. Recent linguistic work suggests, however, that the cross-cultural conception of the body (as reflected in language) does not display multilevel or otherwise rich mereological structure. The linguistic findings accord better with what is known from cognitive science about the multiple perceptual sources for segmentation of the body and the relational organisation of its segments.

1Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

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2 Brown, C. H., (1976), “General Principles of Human Anatomical Partonomy and Speculations on the Growth of Partonomic Nomenclature”, American Ethnologist 3: 400-424.

3 Casati, R.; Varzi, A. C., (1999), Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation, Cambridge and London: MIT Press.

4 Crowe, S. J.; Prescott, T. J., (2003), “Continuity and Change in the Development of Category Structure: Insights from the Semantic Fluency Task”, International Journal of Behavioral Development 27: 467-479.

5 Cruse, D. A., (1986), Lexical Semantics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

6 de, Vignemont, F.; Tsakiris, M.; Haggard, P., (2006), “Body Mereology”, in Knoblich, G.; Thornton, I. M.; Grosjean, M.; Shiffrar, M. (eds.) Human Body Perception from the Inside out, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 147-170.

7 Johnson, C. N.; Kendrick, K., (1984), “Body Partonomy: How Children Partition the Human Body”, Developmental Psychology 20: 967-974.

8 Majid, A.; Enfield, N. J.; van Staden, M., (2006), “Parts of the Body: Crosslinguistic Categorisation”, special issue of Language Sciences 28: 137-359.

9 Marr, D., (1982), Vision, San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.

10 Palmer, G. B.; Nicodemus, L., (1985), “Coeur d’Alene Exceptions to Proposed Universals of Anatomical Nomenclature”, American Ethnologist 12: 341-359.

11 Palmer, S. E., (1977), “Hierarchical Structure in Perceptual Representation”, Cognitive Psychology 9: 441-474.

12 Simons, P., (1987), Parts: A Study in Ontology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

13 Sirigu, A.; Grafman, J.; Bressler, K.; Sunderland, T., (1991), “Multiple Representations Contribute to Body Knowledge Processing”, Brain 114: 629-642.

14 Swanson, R.A.; Witkowski, S., (1977), “Hopi Ethnoanatomy: a Comparative Treatment”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 121: 320-337.

15 Werner, O.; Begishe, K.Y., (1970), “A Lexemic Typology of Navajo Anatomical Terms I: The foot”, International Journal of American Linguistics 36: 247-265.


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