Cross-Corpora Analysis of Spatial Language: The Case of Fictive Motion (Short Paper)

Authors Ekaterina Egorova , Niloofar Aflaki , Cristiane K. Marchis Fagundes , Kristin Stock

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Ekaterina Egorova
  • Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Niloofar Aflaki
  • Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory and School of Natural and Computational Sciences, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Cristiane K. Marchis Fagundes
  • Department of Geomatics, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Kristin Stock
  • Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand


We gratefully acknowledge data provided by Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research NZ (in the form of descriptions from the National Soils Database) to assist in this research.

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Ekaterina Egorova, Niloofar Aflaki, Cristiane K. Marchis Fagundes, and Kristin Stock. Cross-Corpora Analysis of Spatial Language: The Case of Fictive Motion (Short Paper). In 14th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 142, pp. 9:1-9:8, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


The way people describe where things are is one of the central questions of spatial information theory and has been the subject of considerable research. We investigate one particular type of location description, fictive motion (as in, The range runs along the coast). The use of this structure is known to highlight particular properties of the described entity, as well as to convey its configuration in physical space in an effective way. We annotated 496 fictive motion structures in seven corpora that represent different types of spatial discourse – news, travel blogs, texts describing outdoor pursuits and local history, as well as image and location descriptions. We analysed the results not only by examining the distribution of fictive motion structures across corpora, but also by exploring and comparing the semantic categories of verbs used in fictive motion. Our findings, first, add to our knowledge of location description strategies that go beyond prototypical locative phrases. They further reveal how the use of fictive motion varies across types of spatial discourse and reflects the nature of the described environment. Methodologically, we highlight the benefits of a cross-corpora analysis in the study of spatial language use across a variety of contexts.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Information systems → Content analysis and feature selection
  • spatial language
  • spatial discourse
  • fictive motion
  • location
  • cross-corpora analysis


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