Stephen C. Levinson


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  • Brugman, H., Wittenburg, P., Levinson, S. C., & Kita, S. (2002). Multimodal annotations in gesture and sign language studies. In M. Rodriguez González, & C. Paz Suárez Araujo (Eds.), Third international conference on language resources and evaluation (pp. 176-182). Paris: European Language Resources Association.


    For multimodal annotations an exhaustive encoding system for gestures was developed to facilitate research. The structural requirements of multimodal annotations were analyzed to develop an Abstract Corpus Model which is the basis for a powerful annotation and exploitation tool for multimedia recordings and the definition of the XML-based EUDICO Annotation Format. Finally, a metadata-based data management environment has been setup to facilitate resource discovery and especially corpus management. Bt means of an appropriate digitization policy and their online availability researchers have been able to build up a large corpus covering gesture and sign language data.
  • Brugman, H., Levinson, S. C., Skiba, R., & Wittenburg, P. (2002). The DOBES archive: It's purpose and implementation. In P. Austin, H. Dry, & P. Wittenburg (Eds.), Proceedings of the international LREC workshop on resources and tools in field linguistics (pp. 11-11). Paris: European Language Resources Association.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2002). Appendix to the 2002 Supplement, version 1, for the “Manual” for the field season 2001. In S. Kita (Ed.), 2002 Supplement (version 3) for the “Manual” for the field season 2001 (pp. 62-64). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2002). Pragmatics [Chinese translation]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2002). Landscape terms and place names in Yélî Dnye, the language of Rossel Island, PNG. In S. Kita (Ed.), 2002 Supplement (version 3) for the “Manual” for the field season 2001 (pp. 8-13). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2002). Time for a linguistic anthropology of time. Current Anthropology, 43(4), S122-S123. doi:10.1086/342214.
  • Levinson, S. C., Kita, S., Haun, D. B. M., & Rasch, B. H. (2002). Returning the tables: Language affects spatial reasoning. Cognition, 84(2), 155-188. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00045-8.


    Li and Gleitman (Turning the tables: language and spatial reasoning. Cognition, in press) seek to undermine a large-scale cross-cultural comparison of spatial language and cognition which claims to have demonstrated that language and conceptual coding in the spatial domain covary (see, for example, Space in language and cognition: explorations in linguistic diversity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in press; Language 74 (1998) 557): the most plausible interpretation is that different languages induce distinct conceptual codings. Arguing against this, Li and Gleitman attempt to show that in an American student population they can obtain any of the relevant conceptual codings just by varying spatial cues, holding language constant. They then argue that our findings are better interpreted in terms of ecologically-induced distinct cognitive styles reflected in language. Linguistic coding, they argue, has no causal effects on non-linguistic thinking – it simply reflects antecedently existing conceptual distinctions. We here show that Li and Gleitman did not make a crucial distinction between frames of spatial reference relevant to our line of research. We report a series of experiments designed to show that they have, as a consequence, misinterpreted the results of their own experiments, which are in fact in line with our hypothesis. Their attempts to reinterpret the large cross-cultural study, and to enlist support from animal and infant studies, fail for the same reasons. We further try to discern exactly what theory drives their presumption that language can have no cognitive efficacy, and conclude that their position is undermined by a wide range of considerations.

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