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Categories across language and cognition -


The Categories across language and cognition project investigates how different languages encode common human experiences, from simple perceptual stimuli to concrete objects, more complex dynamic events, right through to navigating spatial expanses. Examining a range of semantic domains enables us to address core theoretical questions and cross-cutting themes (e.g. ineffability, semplates) at the heart of the language - cognition interface.

Language and perception

How do different speakers of different languages talk about simple perceptual and emotional experiences? Do linguistic categories shape our perceptual experiences?


Evolution of semantic systems

A joint research initiative between the Evolutionary Processes in Language and Culture group and Categories across Language and Cognition project. more>



How do people classify and reason about the organic world? more >


The body

The human body has a special status: it is both an ordinary object in visual and tactile space, and one to which we have privileged internal access. How do language, vision and touch interact to create a sense of bodily awareness?


Event representation

How do languages code events and their participants? And how do children acquire these structures?



How do people talk about and understand space, both at a large scale for example in navigation and at a small scale for example when locating objects? And how does space structure our understanding of other domains, such as time?


Categories in discourse

What is the relevance of genres or text categories for researching the role of language, culture and cognition? What force have narrative and discourse exerted on the evolution and development of grammatical categories? How are social domains like kinship, and the transmission of cultural knowledge constructed in and by narrative? more >

Last checked 2013-10-30 by Mark Dingemanse


Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

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