The Nijmegen space games: Studying the interrelationship between language, culture and cognition
The Nijmegen space games: Studying the interrelationship between language, culture and cognition. In J. Wassmann, & K. Stockhaus (Eds.
), Person, space and memory in the contemporary Pacific: Experiencing new worlds
(pp. 224-244). New York: Berghahn Books.
One of the central aims of the "Cognitive Anthropology Research Group" (since 1998 the "Department of Language and Cognition of the MPI for Psycholinguistics") is to research the relationship between language, culture and cognition and the conceptualization of space in various languages and cultures. Ever since its foundation in 1991 the group has been developing methods to elicit cross-culturally and cross-linguistically comparable data for this research project. After a brief summary of the central considerations that served as guidelines for the developing of these elicitation devices, this paper first presents a broad selection of the "space games" developed and used for data elicitation in the groups' various fieldsites so far. The paper then discusses the advantages and shortcomings of these data elicitation devices. Finally, it is argued that methodologists developing such devices find themselves in a position somewhere between Scylla and Charybdis - at least, if they take the requirement seriously that the elicited data should be comparable not only cross-culturally but also cross-linguistically.