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Functional Features in Language and SpaceInsights from Perception, Categorization, and Development$
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Laura Carlson and Emile van der Zee

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264339

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264339.001.0001

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Force and Function in the Acquisition of the Preposition in

Force and Function in the Acquisition of the Preposition in

(p.219) 15 Force and Function in the Acquisition of the Preposition in
Functional Features in Language and Space


Oxford University Press

Containment, an essential relation in the activities of human beings, has an important role in the development of the spatial uses of the preposition in. The preposition in is often defined in terms of static properties such as topological inclusion or geometric concavity. This chapter presents envelopment and concavity as consequences of the function of containment. Whereas all properties of containment are met for many uses of in, some extensions are justified by only some properties. These properties, thus behave as the features of a family resemblance. Because of this representation, containment is a complex concept. It may be called Complex Primitive because preverbal children are aware of the static and kinetic characteristics of containment. Complete knowledge of this concept develops later, when children manipulate containers and realize the dynamic aspects of containment and its function.

Keywords:   containment, force, movement, function, preposition

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