Space and Time in aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Arabic

A Cross-Generational Study


What is the relationship between spatial and temporal representations in language and cognition? What is the role of culture in this relationship? I enter this discussion by offering a community-based, cross-generational study on the community of speakers of aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Arabic, members of a Negev Desert Bedouin tribe in Israel. The book presents the results of ten years of fieldwork, the linguistic and cognitive profiles of three generations, and first-hand narration of a century of history, from nomadism to sedentarism, between conservation, resilience, and change. Linguistic and cognitive representations change with lifestyle, culture, and relationships with nature and landscape. Language changes more rapidly than cognitive structures, and the relationship between spatial and temporal representations is complex and multifaceted.

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Letizia Cerqueglini, Ph.D. (2014), University of Pisa and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Language and Semitic Linguistics at Tel Aviv University. Her interests focus on the relationship between language, cognition, and culture, especially in multilingual contexts, in the ancient and contemporary Semitic world.
List of Figures
List of Tables
Reading Conventions


1 Aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Space and Time and a Linguist in the Field
 1 General Overview
 2 Negev Arabic: Tribes and Linguistic Varieties
 3 The aṣ-Ṣāniʿ
 4 The aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Narration of the Arab–Israeli Conflict: Šēḫ Ḥāğğ Ibrāhīm’s Daughters Speak
 5 Ten Years among the aṣ-Ṣāniʿ
 6 The Language Choice
 7 Culture and Language of Sedentary and Bedouin Communities in the Arab World
 8 Invisible Boundaries: Cultural and Linguistic Conservatism in a Bedouin Community
 9 Linguistic Anthropology in the Middle East
 10 Endangered Languages in the Middle East
 11 The Fieldwork Experience
 12 A Woman among the Bedouin
 13 A Linguist, Not an Anthropologist

2 Basics of Space and Time
 1 Spatial Domains and Spatial Relations: Terminology and Fundamentals
 2 The Frames of Reference Terminology Adopted in This Book
 3 Frames of Reference in Spatial Semantic Typology
 4 Space and Time in Language and Cognition
 5 Space in Cross-Cultural Perspective
 6 Does Space Exist Everywhere?
 7 Temporal Frames of Reference
 8 Aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Space and Time: State of the Art and Aim of this Work
 9 State of the Art of Spatial and Temporal Studies in Afroasiatic and Semitic

3 Society, Culture, and Methodology
 1 A Culture in Decline: Gender Groups and Age Groups
 2 Stimulus Selection: A Work in Progress
 3 Toward a Culture-Based Methodology
 4 Representing Entities in Scale: Implications of Using Toy Objects
 5 Culturally Related, Previously Acquired, and Recently Acquired Objects
 6 Practical Tools to Elicit Semantic Information
 7 Methodology
 8 The Interview: ‘Where is X in Relation to Y?’
 9 The Tick Test
 10 Other Experiments

4 Aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Space and Time: A Linguistic and Cultural Overview
 1 Ayyām al-ʿArab: Ayyām al-Bilād: Spaces and Times in the Old Days
 2 The Tent
 3 Humans and Animals in the Domain of Space
 4 Right and Left
 5 ‘In Front’ and ‘Behind’
 6 From Space to Time
 7 The Inherent Partitions of Animals
 8 Human and Animal Body Parts and Landmarks: An Experimental Approach
 9 The Nose, the Belly, and the Back of the Mountain
 10 The Wadi as a Landmark in aṣ-Ṣāniʿ and Jbāli Linguistic Representations
 11 Semantics of Astronomical Directions: Within Negev Landscapes and Beyond
 12 Cardinal Directions across Grammatical Categories
 13 Polyframing of Cardinal References
 14 The Traditional aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Horizons
 15 Middle and Young aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Generations Confronted with Desert Spaces
 16 Day and Night
 17 The Seasons and the Activities Associated with Them
 18 Cardinal Directions, Seasons, and Weather: A Cross-Cultural Survey on Naturalistic Metaphors from Arabia
 19 Modern Times

5 The Intrinsic Frame of Reference across the Generations
 1 Preliminaries
 2 The Intrinsic Frame among the aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Elders
 3 MAA and YAA Intrinsic Frame
 4 Intrinsic Frame of Reference and Cardinal Directions in TAA
 5 Hybrid Strategies of the Intrinsic Frame of Reference in TAA

6 The Relative Frame of Reference across the Generations
 1 TAA Relative Frame of Reference: The Front–Back Axis
 2 The Lateral Axis of the ALIGNED FIELD
 3 Differences between TAA and Hausa Aligned Fields
 4 TAA Relative Prepositional Strategies
 5 The Culture and Philosophy of the TAA Traditional Ontology of Space
 6 MAA and YAA Relative Frame of Reference
 7 MAA and YAA Treatment of Ground-Sheep
 8 MAA and YAA Lateral Axis
 9 MAA and YAA Motion
 10 Concluding Remarks

7 The Geocentric Frame of Reference across the Generations
 1 TAA Geocentric Frame of Reference on a Small Scale
 2 TAA Cultural Salience of Figure/Ground Interactions
 3 TAA Absolute Frame of Reference and Axial Constraints
 4 TAA Strategies for Absolute Frames of Reference: Contrastive Distribution
 5 Absolute Frame of Reference in Motion
 6 MAA and YAA Absolute Frame of Reference
 7 A Note on Referential Polysemy in Prepositions

8 TAA, MAA, and YAA Cognitive Referential Framing
 1 Space in Universalism and Relativism: Language-to-Cognition Correlation
 2 Typologies of Referential Styles
 3 Methodology of Cognitive Enquiry
 4 TAA, MAA, and YAA Responses
 5 Discussion

9 Temporal Cognition across the Generations
 1 From Space to Time in Language and Cognition
 2 Spatial Frames of Reference
 3 Historical and Cultural Background
 4 Methodology
 5 Results
 6 Discussion of the Temporal Data

10 Conclusions: Language, Thought, Culture, and Reality

Students and scholars of theoretical linguistics, typology, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, linguistic and cognitive fieldwork, anthropology, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, linguistic and cognitive fieldwork, Arabic dialectology, and Semitic and Afroasiatic linguistics.
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