A swift promenade through the linguistical forests, reveals how a simple word’s play makes us capable of understanding our position relative to the real world. To wax on linguistics makes objects easier to find in the real world; this was the conclusion of a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Aberdeen.
In order to identify the cognitive processes through which people are able to identify the spatial position of certain objects in the world, the research team comprised of linguists and neuroscience researchers drafted a study group. Each study group had a couple of materials selected from the famous Find Wally! Cartoon.
The team asked each candidate to describe Wally’s position in each of the pictures. The study wasn’t based on the ability of a person to find the famous comic book character, but rather on their choice of words.
Based on the individual reactions, the scientists have concluded that the information compressed in the body of a sentence tends to occupy the second place, meaning that, it is more important how we choose the word’s sequence.
As part of the experiment, the candidates were asked to ascertain the position of Wally, relative to a landmark situated in the immediate vicinity. When asked to do so, the candidates said were Wally is positioned, but the result is quite intriguing in their diversity.
As such, if Wally was positioned in the vicinity of a strong and famous landmark, the candidates had the impulse to start the sentence by indicating the landmark and then mentioning the character at the end of the sentence.
On the other hand, if the landmark lacked in strength, meaning that is was rather obscure than the other, the speaker would begin his sentence by indicating the character and them by indicating its position in space.
To summarize their findings, if a person, who was asked to identify Wally’s position, saw the character in the proximity of big or a very famous landmark, his or her’s sentence would begin something on the line of: near the big statue is the man in red. On the other hand, when the notorious character was position near a minor landmark, the sequence of words would be altered and the sentence becomes something like: the man in red is near the fountain.
Mischa Elsner, a scientist working for the Ohio University said that when giving a syntactical structure, people tend to put more weight on how to get there, rather than the location itself. So, it would probably be a good idea to start out your speech with the directions, in order to optimize your response.