Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, June 21, 2002

Prepositions and Orienteering


Mook and I were talking about Swedish prepositions which reminded me of an interesting (or atleast unusual) idea about why the Scandinavian countries have so many good orienteers.

Maybe the Scandinavian languages have better prepostions for navigating?

Prepositions express spatial relationships. Navigating is about relating things in space. The idea (I don't want to call it a theory) is that Scandinavian prepositions do a better job of describing spatial relationships.

Swedish and English prepositions are different. "We ate in the restaurant." But, in Swedish you eat on the restaurant. There are lots of differences in prepositions between Scandinavian languages and English.

Maybe Swedish prepositions are better than English ones?

Mabye that helps explain why Sweden is full of good orienteers?

Probably not. Scandinavia is probably full of good orienteers because there are a lot of orienteers, a lot of maps and a lot of races. So much for the idea.

But, it is interesting to think about languages and orienteering. A more interesting way to think about orienteering and languages is to think of map reading as learning a second language....Maybe that'll be a topic for another day.

By the way, I should mention that Charles Parry is the person who wondered about Scandinavia prepositions and orienteering. Charles was working with orienteering in the late 1980s. He went to the WOC training camp in Sweden in 1988 and was part of the U.S. group at the WOC in 1989. He was studying orienteering and orienteers because he was interested in "Peak Performance." He did some interesting work. Maybe a topic for another day...

posted by Michael | 9:09 PM


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