Automatic Classification of Containment and Support Spatial Relations in English and Dutch

  • Kate Lockwood
  • Andrew Lovett
  • Ken Forbus
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5248)


The need to communicate and reason about space is pervasive in human cognition. Consequently, most languages develop specialized terms for describing relationships between objects in space – spatial prepositions. However, the specific set of prepositions and the delineations between them vary widely. For example, in English containment relationships are categorized as in and support relationships are classified as on. In Dutch, on the other hand, three different prepositions are used to distinguish between different types of support relations: op, aan, and om. In this paper we show how progressive alignment can be used to model the formation of spatial language categories along the containment-support continuum in both English and Dutch.


Cognitive modeling spatial prepositions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Lockwood
    • 1
  • Andrew Lovett
    • 1
  • Ken Forbus
    • 1
  1. 1.Qualitative Reasoning GroupNorthwestern UniversityEvanston 

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