Specialist Meeting: Dec. 7–9, 2016.

Universals and Variation in Spatial Referencing across Cultures and Languages, sponsored by the Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (http://spatial.ucsb.edu/) with a contribution from Esri, was held December 7–9, 2016, at the Upham Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA (http://www.uphamhotel.com/).

By “spatial referencing” we mean the function with which a natural language expression locates something in the world. What do we know (and what would we like to know) about how such expressions and their referring function stay the same or vary across languages and cultures? Are there universals and systematic variations?

Forty-two researchers were hosted for an open discussion of research results and needs addressing these and related questions. Participants represented the broadest possible range of disciplines and professions offering insights on the topic.

The Specialist Meeting Organizing Committee:

  • Werner Kuhn, (Chair), Director of the Center for Spatial Studies and Jack and Laura Dangermond Professor of Geography, UCSB
  • Niclas Burenhult, Associate Professor of General Linguistics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University; and Research Associate, Language and Cognition Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
  • Bernard Comrie, Distinguished Faculty Professor, Department of Linguistics, UCSB
  • James Pustejovsky, Chair, Language and Linguistics and Computational Linguistics Programs and Director, Lab of Linguistics and Computation, Brandeis University
  • Thora Tenbrink, Director of Research, College of Arts and Humanities and Reader in Cognitive Linguistics, Bangor University.

Invited Speaker:

  • Stephen C. Levinson, Director, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics