Spatial inflection and memory for direction in Acazulco Otomi

Boeg Thomsen, Ditte and Volhardt, Marc Daniel Skibsted (2018) Spatial inflection and memory for direction in Acazulco Otomi. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, 50 (2). pp. 208-241. ISSN 0374-0463

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Many languages have developed a specialized tool for coding spatial background aspects of events: associated motion morphology. This sparsely investigated verb inflection allows speakers to specify that the situation described by a verb takes place against the background of a motion event, as in “sing (while coming)”. Associated-motion systems typically include deictic information, and when verb inflection requires distinctions between motion in different directions, a thinking-for-speaking account would predict cognitive consequences in the shape of heightened memory for direction. To evaluate this hypothesis, we compare encoding of and memory for direction in an endangered Otopamean language, Acazulco Otomí (Mexico). First, we examine diversity and frequency in the use of associated-motion inflection in pilgrim narratives. Then, we investigate the potential cognitive correlates with a psycholinguistic recognition-memory experiment measuring change-detection performance. Linguistic encoding of background direction was found to support memory for direction, but the sample size was small, and the experiment further indicated that both the associated-motion inflection and its corresponding attention patterns are in a process of dissolution. This echoes findings in Arrernte and Mojeño Trinitario, and we discuss why associated motion might be an especially vulnerable category in language-endangerment contexts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Acta Linguistica Hafniensia
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Acta Linguistica Hafniensia on 23/04/2018, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 90152
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 05 Feb 2018 09:12
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2020 04:24

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