5.2.1. Analysis of verbal responses
Verbal responses are reported in Table 4. This table shows that a variety of strategies were used in speech—both the intrinsic and geocentric FoRs, as well as manner and spatial deictics. But there were no egocentric responses.
Only two participants used a geocentric term (“north”); all the other participants’ verbal responses were underspecified in terms of angular information. In the two following verbal answers reported below, only the participant in example 2 chose to use a geocentric term in this task, although both participants know the four cardinal directions terms as well as the terms “left” and “right.”
|(ex.1)||he’l-o’,||bey aktáan-i’ ti’-a’||e’ gasolinera bey yanik-a’,||e’àasulero-e’ bey-o’|
|PRES-TD||MAN in.front.of-TD LOC-TD||DET gas.station MAN EXIST-TD||DET azulero MAN-TD|
|“Here it is, it [AZ] is in front of it [GS], the gas station is like this, the Azulero like that” [IPM (M, 39)]17|
|(ex.2)||hàa te’ t-u-tséel-o’ te’ estee...||xaman ti’,||xaman bey ti’ e gasolinera-a’|
|INTJ LOC LOC-3.ERG-side LOC INTJ||north LOC||north MAN LOC DET gas.station-TD|
|“Hmm, on the side [of the GS] well… north of it, it is like north of the gas station” [ACB (M, 43)]|
The use of the verbal geocentric FoR in ex. 2 indicates the exact side of the GS on which the AZ is located, whereas the use of the intrinsic FoR alone used in ex. 1 does not. As predicted, the use of intrinsic FoR without complementary information does not specify whether the AZ is on the north or the east side of the GS (ex. 1). It appears that terms such as “in front of/in opposition to”(aktáan) and “on its side”(tutséel) are interchangeable in participants’ responses from study 4.
Consistent with ethnographic data and the results of study 1 (see Table 1), deictics are the terms most favored by participants to localize the figure against the ground. Table 4 gives a count of the utterances that used deictic alone (as in “the AZ lies like this”). Thirty-one of the 42 verbal answers (i.e., 74 percent) involved only deictics, as in example 3, a response from a 41-year-old woman:
|(ex.3)||bey-an-il gasolinera||bey-an-il àasulero|
|MAN-EXIST-NOM gas.station||MAN-EXIST-NOM azulero|
|“The gas station stands like this, the Azulero stands like this” [LCC (W, 41)]|
The reason that speech can be so inexplicit is that the channel through which the relevant spatial information is provided by Yucatec Maya participants is gesture.
5.2.2. Analysis of co-speech gesture
When we look only at the verbal properties of the responses in study 4, many of the responses appear to be spatially underspecified. But when gesture is considered as well, all 20 participants show a consistent use of the geocentric FoR. Participants recreate the AZ-GS array always putting the AZ north of the GS. Table 5 presents the various strategies used to encode the AZ-GS relation over the 20 responses of the 20 participants. Interestingly, even participants who know the terms for the four cardinal directions (as shown by results from study 2) apparently do not feel any need to use a geocentric FoR in their speech, only in their gesture. Out of 11 participants who know the term “north” (3 women and 8 men) only two male participants encoded verbally the AZ being “north of” the GS, using the cardinal term xaman, “north.”
Table 5. Gesture encoding of the AZ “north of” the GS by types of gestural strategies
|Twenty Responses||Gesture Encoded||Total Gesture Produced|
|Left–Right Axis (total = 10)||Front–Behind the Body Axis (total = 7)||Away–Toward the Body Axis (frontal area) (total = 3)|
|Group 1facing west (n = 11)||10 (90%)||0||1 (10%)||11|
|Group 2 facing south (n = 9)||0||7 (78%)||2 (22%)||9|
Since participants in group 1 and 2 faced in different directions, we can compare the orientation of their gestures in a contrastive way. All participants encoded the AZ as “north of” the GS. Ten out of 11 participants facing west used the right–left axis of their body to encode the south–north axis: They pointed to their right, which was north, to set the AZ’s position and to their left, which was south, to set the GS position. Participants facing south pointed behind them (north) for the GS and in front of them (south) for the AZ. Two participants from group 2 encoded the same relation but used instead a south–north axis defined by an opposition away from their body–toward their body (i.e., the two entities are reproduced in the frontal area of their body but the GS is still more away from the body, that is, more southward). The various strategies are presented in Table 5 and exemplified in Fig. 5.
Fig. 5 is a graphic representation of the gesture information shown in Table 5. At the bottom, we see, for group 1 (facing west) and for group 2 (facing south), the gestures with which they positioned the GS and the AZ. All four strategies are exemplified.
For reason of space, I will only present the two most frequent geocentric response strategies used by the participants in each groups, that is strategies (i) and (iii) of Fig. 5. The following examples contrast the knowledge of the participants against their gestural strategies. The four following examples show that whatever the verbal strategy being used or the lexical knowledge of the participant, the gestural strategy is always consistent with a geocentric FoR.
In example 4, illustrating strategy (i) of Fig. 5, a 33-year-old man in group 1 (facing west) uses the geocentric FoR in both language and gesture, first placing the AZ “north of” the GS (see (a) in Fig. 6) and then placing the GS to the south (see (b) in Fig. 6).18
Figure 6. “From the GS (a) the AZ stands on the north (and) … (b) the gas station stands like this” (study 4, male from group 1).
Download figure to PowerPoint
|(ex.4)||(T)e’ gasolinerao’... te’ [xaman xan u-p’áata ti’]||(l)e gasolinerao’ [bey yàan-ik-a’]|
|LOC gas.station LOC north too 3ERG-rest LOC||DET gas.station MAN EXIST-FOC-TD|
|“From the gas station … [on the north it (AZ) stands from it too]Fig. 6a, the gas station [stands like this] Fig. 6b”|
Example 5 also illustrates strategy (i) of Fig. 5. In this example a 32-year-old in group 1 (facing west) who knows the terms for all four cardinal directions uses the geocentric FoR but only in his gestures: His left hand indicates the position of the AZ to the north (see (a) in Fig. 7) while his right hand shows the position of the GS to the south (see (b) in Fig. 7). Unlike the man in example 4, he uses no geocentric terms in his speech, but only deictics (“there”); nevertheless, his gestures provide the relevant geocentric angular information (i.e., “AZ is to the north of the GS”).
|(ex.5)||Asùulero [ti’ yàan te’el-a’]||(GS) [ti’ yàan te’ela’]|
|gas.station LOC EXIST LOC-TD||(gas.station) LOC EXIST LOC-TD|
|The AZ [is there]Fig. 7a (and the GS) [is there]Fig. 7b|
Participants in group 2, who faced south, equally set the opposition north–south (i.e., “AZ is to the north of the GS”) in their gesture. Even though their gestures differ from those of participants in group 1 (who used their left-right axis, see Fig. 5), the geocentric relation is preserved. The two following examples illustrate strategy (iii) of Fig. 5 where participants make use of their body to contrasts the position of the AZ in relation to the GS.
In example 6, a 40-year-old man pointed behind him (i.e., northward) with his right hand to indicate the location of the AZ and forward (i.e., southward) with his left hand, with his palm open and vertical, to position the GS. His geocentric gestures placed the AZ (see (a) in Fig 8) “north of” the GS (see (b) in Fig. 8). Although he knew all four cardinal direction terms, he did not encode any FoRs in his speech and used only manner deictics.
|(ex.6)||Le àasulero [hach bey yan-ik-a’]||Gasolina-o’ [bey yan-ik-a’]|
|DET azulero very MAN EXIST-FOC-TD||gas.station-TD MAN EXIST-FOC-TD|
|“The Azulero [stands exactly like this]Fig. 8a… the gas station [stands like this]Fig. 8b”|
In example 7, another participant from group 2, a 19-year-old young woman (the youngest of study 4), also uses a geocentric FoR in her gestures. Her right hand first points to the north, behind her, to situate the AZ (see (a) in Fig. 9) and then she moves her hand to the south to situate the GS (see (b) Fig. 9). In study 2, this participant claimed she could not point to any of the cardinal directions. However, her gestures correctly encode a geocentric north–south relation, just like the gestures of all the other participants in groups 1 and 2.
|(ex.7)||[AZ] [bey yàanika’]||[GS] bey bey inw-óol-a’|
|(azulero) MAN EXIST-FOC-TD||gas.station MAN MAN 1ERG-know-TD|
|“(AZ) [stands like this]Fig. 9a (and the GS) [like this as far as I know]Fig. 9b”|
Note that pointing behind one’s body when referring to distant entities is a distinctive feature of geocentric gesture in general. Such a gesture is dispreferred by egocentric coders and readers may consider it quite awkward. In the use of the egocentric FoR, the point of view of the speaker sets the way an arrangement will be understood in terms of angular information (i.e., the figure is left/right of the ground looking at them from position x). So when talking about a distant arrangement, egocentric speakers tend to give information about the figure and the ground from their imagined perspective (i.e., the way they imagine themselves looking at the two entities, usually with one on left and the other on the right). In this case, gesture is done in the area in front of the body (Kita, 1998; Levinson, 2003).19 In contrast, since for geocentric encoders point of view is irrelevant, they can point to the space all around their body to set a contrast between the figure and the ground (almost as a compass), as in examples 4–7.