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Cross-cultural differences in representations and routines for exact number

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Title: Cross-cultural differences in representations and routines for exact number
Authors: Frank, Michael
Issue Date: 20 Dec 2012
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication
Abstract: The relationship between language and thought has been a focus of persistent interest and controversy in cognitive science. Although debates about this issue have occurred in many domains, number is an ideal case study of this relationship because the details (and even the existence) of exact numeral systems vary widely across languages and cultures. In this article I describe how cross-linguistic and cross-cultural diversity—in Amazonia, Melanesia, and around the world—gives us insight into how systems for representing exact quantities affect speakers’ numerical cognition. This body of evidence supports the perspective that numerals provide representations for storing and manipulating quantity information. In addition, the differing structure of quantity representations across cultures can lead to the invention of widely varied routines for numerical tasks like enumeration and arithmetic.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-2-4
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:LD&C Special Publication No. 5: Melanesian languages on the edge of Asia: Challenges for the 21st Century

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