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By Martin Thiering

This publication offers novel facts from endangered languages and cultures which are ever so frequently nonetheless now not excited by. It combines various disciplines to catch the intricacies of spatial orientation and navigation. additionally, the interaction among tradition via language and practices offers new insights within the significance of mixing cognitive semantics with cognitive anthropology.

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These different analytical and disciplinary concepts form the framework for this book. 2 Behind the stage I: theoretical preliminaries This chapter begins with a high-level summary of the history of cognitive linguistics. A long-standing tradition in philosophy argues that language must be grounded in reality (Davis 2003; Hershenson 1999; Marr 1982). This idea of language as a mirror of reality is known as “linguistic realism” or “naive realism” (Lehar 2003). Wittgenstein rejects this view, as do others (Wittgenstein 2006; Monk 1990; Mulhall 1990; Rundle 1990; Sluga and Stern 1996; Tyler and Evans 2003; Vohra 1986; Zlatev 1997).

Thanks also to Alan Cienki and Raphael Berthele who read the initial introduction and theory chapter and provided very helpful feedback. This book is a highly revised version of my habilitation treatise which was supervised by Monika Schwarz-Friesel at the Technical University Berlin. I am very grateful that she took up the challenge of accepting my cognitive linguistic and cognitive anthropological approach to spatial language and cognition. D. supervisor Sally Rice at the University of Alberta, who introduced me to the Dene language and culture a decade ago.

My approach is therefore an “investigation into the meaning of spatial language that regards language as an integrated part of human cognition” (Zlatev 2007: 318). Certainly, languages of space or ideas of space point to cognitive structures and categorization processes of spatial mental models. Language serves as a semiotic system, as do practices of joint action as seen in place names, frames of reference, geometric relations and the like, that is, language as semiotic form externalizes the cognitive construction of the vision of the world (Lucy 1996: 38).

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