A Typology of spatial expressions

Ioannidou I. & Dimitracopoulou A.,Final Evaluation Report. Part II. Children in Choros & Chronos Project. Esprit/I3, 2001. The authors report on a study about how kids collaborated (2 teams: one on the field and the other in a 'control room') on a treasure hunt (a bit different than our CatchBob! thing). I found in this report an interesting typology of spatial expressions used in their quantitive analysis:

Topological referents: where positioning, orientation, or motion in space is determined via reference to objects located in space. Specifically we include expressions that refer to relations of objects (close to, in front of etc) in space. Intrinsic referents (projective or body-centered, or body-syntonic): where positioning, orientation, or motion in space are determined with regard to a specific viewpoint from which the objects are observed. Under this category we ranked expressions that result from the pupils’ own point of view -which according to Piaget and Inhelder (1967) is the source of simple projection-or from the pupils’ changing of view point (on our left, on your left respectively etc). Euclidean referents: where positioning, orientation, or motion in space is determined by using the metric system, making calculations and using coordinates. The spatial expressions under this category refer only the use of metric system and estimation of relative distance. Combination of referents: Where more than one of the above types of referents are used to determine one positioning or direction in space Context-bound referents: Where positioning, orientation or motion in space is determined in terms of a specific representation or environment (the computer screen or the real space). Context bound expressions were used mostly in within group communication and in several cases were accompanied by gestures (e.g they are here – shows the place on the screen. Down is considered context bound because it occurs from the two dimensional representation of space on the computer screen and defines the area on the lowermost side of the screen. Context bound referents were primarily exchanged in within group discourse where pupils could see each other and mediate his/her talking with gestures and reference to the experience the group was sharing. Context-bound – intrinsic referents: Where positioning, orientation and motion in space are determined with regard a specific point of view but they also include references to idiosyncratic elements of the environment in which they are produced. Expressions like “the store room is here” are reported under this category because the pupil shows with a gesture a position in space taking as referential point its own point of view.