By Timothy E. Moore
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Additional resources for Cognitive Development and Acquisition of Language
The perceptual apparatus therefore defines a clear plane of asymmetry, the vertical plane running through the body separating front from back. Notice that by similar criteria, there is another plane of asymmetry at the base of the feet: Objects above ground level are characteristically visible, audible, smellable, tasteable, and touchable, whereas objects below ground level are not. In short, man's perceptual apparatus alone quite naturally defines three reference planes: one plane of perceptual symmetry (the vertical plane separating left and right) and two planes perpendicular to this plane and to each other about which perception is asymmetrical (the vertical plane separating front from back, and the horizontal plane at ground level).
If John and Mary were side by side, or back to back, or back to front, or in any other position, these conditions would no longer be optimal. It is no accident that normal conversations are carried out face-to-face. This face-to-face situation is what I would like to refer to, for convenience, as the canonical encounter. P-space, has some very important consequences in language. It is also of interest to note how movement occurs in man's social surroundings. First, other people and objects can move into John's field of view.
This a priori knowledge is separate from language itself and is not so mysterious. The knowledge, it will be argued, is simply what the child knows about space given that he lives on this planet, has a particular perceptual apparatus, and moves around in a characteristic manner. , that he stands upright, and so on—and in this sense it is innate. For the present, however, it is more constructive to consider the present paper within a cognitive framework. The thesis is simply that the child knows much about space and time before he learns the English terms for space and time, and his acquisition of these terms is built onto his prior cognitive development.
Cognitive Development and Acquisition of Language by Timothy E. Moore