Directional precision in language (and gesture)

11 months ago

One complication to the simplicity of pointing may be the demand for directional accuracy. People in many different societies, speaking such languages as Warlpiri and GY in Aboriginal Australia, Austronesian languages like Malagasy, and American Indian languages like Wintu, and Tzeltal, are reported to keep careful track of cardinal directions, recorded in locational expressions in speech. The linguistic details vary, but frequently people use lexical roots for cardinal directions to describe things and events as points or vectors in the appropriate divisions of the horizontal plane.

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