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Contextual versus Inherent Properties of Entities in Space 


Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 216
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The relation between the locatum and the relatum of a spatial expression is asymmetric in two respects. The first asymmetry concerns the contextual properties of the two entities: it is assumed that the location of the locatum is less likely than the location of the relatum to be part of the common ground. The second asymmetry pertains to inherent properties: the relatum is more likely than the locatum to belong to a type of entities that occupy a fixed place in space. The aim of this paper is to inspect the interplay between contextual and inherent properties of entities with respect to their impact on the encoding of spatial relations. Based on elicited semi-spontaneous data from German, Greek, and Yucatec Maya, we argue that the inherent properties of entities that relate to their potential to occur in several locations have implications for the assumptions of the speaker about the common ground. As a consequence, the observable effects of these inherent properties and the effects of the context are reducible to a single concept of common-ground related assumptions.