Here, near, far: Spatial conceptualisation and cognition in a cross-linguistic perspective (English vs. Russian)

Anna Nikolaevna Gladkova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter explores variation and similarities in the conceptualisation of space in Russian and English on the basis of selected terms of ‘location’ and ‘proximity/distance’. It adopts the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach, which identifies eight semantic universals of space, three of which, here, near, far, were tested for their realisation in both languages. A semantic analysis of terms denoting ‘here’, ‘near’, ‘not far’, and ‘far’ confirms the presence of the three universal primes in English and Russian, though they differ in how they conceptually carve up the notion of space. The study has implications for research into bilingualism and language acquisition and demonstrates that the NSM formulae can be used experimentally to test spatial conceptualisation and cognition cross-linguistically.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Cognition and Language Use
Subtitle of host publicationProcessing and typological perspectives
EditorsLuna Filipovic, Martin Putz
Place of PublicationAmsterdam The Netherlands
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9789027270283
ISBN (Print)9789027223982
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHuman Cognitive Processing (HCP): Cognitive Foundations of Langu.age Structure and Use
ISSN (Print)2387-6724


  • Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM)
  • semantic primes
  • space
  • universals

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