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The Construal of Spatial MeaningWindows into Conceptual Space$
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Carita Paradis, Jean Hudson, and Ulf Magnusson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641635

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641635.001.0001

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The Development of Semantic Space for Pointing and Verbal Communication

The Development of Semantic Space for Pointing and Verbal Communication

(p.29) 3 The Development of Semantic Space for Pointing and Verbal Communication
The Construal of Spatial Meaning

Peter Gärdenfors

Massimo Warglien

Oxford University Press

We present an analysis of the development of the semantic space of a child from gesture to verbal communication. As a driving example, we analyse the different forms of pointing—imperative pointing, emotional declarative pointing, and goal-directed declarative pointing. We argue that the meaning processes involved in communication by pointing are essentially the same as those in spoken communication, and that the development of linguistic communication ability can be seen as a transition from pointing in physical space to pointing in mental spaces. Our starting point is that the relevant semantic structures can be modelled with the aid of conceptual spaces with topological and geometric structure. Using combinations of physical (visual) space with various mental spaces (emotion space, goal space, and category space), we show that there is a semantic continuum in development, and that purely verbal communication may arise from a bootstrapping process grounded on gestural communication.

Keywords:   emotion space, goal space, category space, imperative pointing, declarative pointing, joint attention, detached language

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