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The Contact Diffusion of Linguistic Practices : Reference Frames in Mesoamerica

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      Abstract

      We examine the extent to which practices of language use may be diffused through language contact and areally shared, using data on spatial reference frame use by speakers of eight indigenous languages from in and around the Mesoamerican linguistic area and three varieties of Spanish. Regression models show that the frequency of L2-Spanish use by speakers of the indigenous languages predicts the use of relative reference frames in the L1 even when literacy and education levels are accounted for. A significant difference in frame use between the Mesoamerican and non-Mesoamerican indigenous languages further supports the contact diffusion analysis.

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      Most cited references 5

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      Cognitive cladistics and cultural override in Hominid spatial cognition.

      Current approaches to human cognition often take a strong nativist stance based on Western adult performance, backed up where possible by neonate and infant research and almost never by comparative research across the Hominidae. Recent research suggests considerable cross-cultural differences in cognitive strategies, including relational thinking, a domain where infant research is impossible because of lack of cognitive maturation. Here, we apply the same paradigm across children and adults of different cultures and across all nonhuman great ape genera. We find that both child and adult spatial cognition systematically varies with language and culture but that, nevertheless, there is a clear inherited bias for one spatial strategy in the great apes. It is reasonable to conclude, we argue, that language and culture mask the native tendencies in our species. This cladistic approach suggests that the correct perspective on human cognition is neither nativist uniformitarian nor "blank slate" but recognizes the powerful impact that language and culture can have on our shared primate cognitive biases.
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        Geographic and manipulable space in two Tamil linguistic systems

         Eric Pederson (1993)
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          Ecology, language, and performance on spatial cognitive tasks

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            University at Buffalo jb77@ 123456buffalo.edu
            University at Buffalo
            University at Buffalo
            Purdue University
            College of Charleston
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            Smithsonian Institution
            Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa
            Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Distrito Federal
            Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            University of Surrey
            Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Sureste
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            Contributors
            University at Buffalo jb77@ 123456buffalo.edu
            University at Buffalo
            University at Buffalo
            Purdue University
            College of Charleston
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            Smithsonian Institution
            Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa
            Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Distrito Federal
            Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            University of Surrey
            Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Sureste
            Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
            Journal
            22105832
            Language Dynamics and Change
            LDC
            Brill (The Netherlands )
            2210-5824
            2210-5832
            2015
            : 5
            : 2
            : 169-201
            10.1163/22105832-00502002
            Copyright 2015 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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