Frames of Reference in Dholuo: a Cognitive Semantic Approach
The research aimed to investigate the nature of Frames of Reference found in Dholuo. The study makes central the embodied thesis (a principle of the cognitive semantic approach which asserts that the structure of the human body shapes the human experience) as a descriptive tool to analyse the nature of the predominant Frame of reference in Dholuo (the intrinsic system) from amongst the allocentric and egocentric frames. The study found out that the bodily experience of Dholuo speakers heavily influence how they describe their environment. By transferring their body-part naming system to parts of objects (things) within their environment, Dholuo speakers are able to spatially describe the location of other objects (figures) in relation to parts of an already identified ground object. The study also validates the Neo-Whorfian assertion that aspects of language influence thought, by conducting two experiments- Animal in a row and the Palmers mirror image test. These experiments tested the relationship between the linguistic domain and the non-linguistic cognitive faculties of a Luo speaker. The tasks revealed that Dholuo speakers encode non-linguistic cognitive tasks in the same intrinsic frame as the predominant coordinate system in the language (Intrinsic system). The fact that Dholuo intrinsically interpret non-linguistic cognitive tasks as opposed to the Dutch for instance, who extrinsically interpret the same tasks, is in tandem with Linguistic relativity which states that speakers of different languages describe the world differently.
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