Cognitive linguistics croft cruse
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Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse. 4: Categories,concepts, and meanings, pt. 1. 4.1 Introduction. Functions of conceptual categories: Facilitate learning over non-identical events Planning requires generalization across individuals Communication cannot contain all detail

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Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse

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Cognitive linguistics croft cruse

Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse

4: Categories,concepts, and meanings, pt. 1


4 1 introduction

4.1 Introduction

  • Functions of conceptual categories:

    • Facilitate learning over non-identical events

    • Planning requires generalization across individuals

    • Communication cannot contain all detail

    • Economy of knowledge storage and retrieval


4 1 introduction1

4.1 Introduction

  • Ways to look at categories:

    • As collections of entities, with central prototypes and peripheral members

    • How the members of one category differ from those of another category

    • Level of categorization


4 2 the classical model of category structure

4.2 The classical model of category structure

  • Classical categories

    • are defined by necessary and sufficient features

    • have clear, rigid boundaries

    • have no internal structure


4 2 the classical model of category structure1

4.2 The classical model of category structure

  • Q: What are the problems with classical categories?


4 2 the classical model of category structure2

4.2 The classical model of category structure

  • Q: What are the problems with classical categories?

  • A:

    • many everyday concepts cannot be defined in terms of necessary and sufficient features

    • category membership is often scalar, not absolute

    • the boundaries of categories are often “fuzzy”


4 3 the prototype model of category structure

4.3 The prototype model of category structure

  • There is an alternative to the classical model that avoids its drawbacks….


4 3 1 graded centrality

4.3.1 Graded centrality

  • It is easy for people to rate the GOE (goodness-of-example) of certain items in relation to a category, and this correlates with frequency, order of mention/learning, family resemblance, verification speed, and priming

top-scorer for VEGETABLE

low-scorer for VEGETABLE


4 3 2 the representation of conceptual categories

4.3.2 The representation of conceptual categories

  • There are two ways to look at categories:

    • As a list of properties/features, which are not necessary or sufficient, but which characterize the prototype, which is an idealization of the category

    • As an organization in terms of similarity to an idealized member

      [These are very similar approaches and do not have to be distinguished.]


4 3 3 levels of categorization

4.3.3 Levels of categorization

  • The basic level category has properties more salient than either the superordinate or subordinate levels…


4 3 3 1 basic level categories

4.3.3.1 Basic level categories

  • Q: What is special about basic level categories (car, apple, dog, knife, table)?


4 3 3 1 basic level categories1

4.3.3.1 Basic level categories

  • Q: What is special about basic level categories (car, apple, dog, knife, table)?

  • A:

    • Most inclusive level with characteristic patterns of behavioral interaction, for which a clear visual image can be formed, at which part-whole information is represented

    • Level used for everyday neutral reference

    • Level most rapidly accessed in categorization


4 3 3 2 superordinate level categories

4.3.3.2 Superordinate level categories

  • Q: What do we know about superordinate level categories (vehicle, fruit, furniture)?


4 3 3 2 superordinate level categories1

4.3.3.2 Superordinate level categories

  • Q: What do we know about superordinate level categories (vehicle, fruit, furniture)?

  • A:

    • within-category resemblance is relatively low

    • fewer defining attributes

    • one attribute tends to connect basic-level to superordinate-level categories

    • superordinate categories are often named with mass nouns and tend to be morphologically complex, whereas basic-level categories are named with count nouns that are morphologically simpler


4 3 3 3 subordinate level categories

4.3.3.3 Subordinate level categories

  • Q: What do we know about subordinate level categories (hatchback, Granny Smith, card table)?


4 3 3 3 subordinate level categories1

4.3.3.3 Subordinate level categories

  • Q: What do we know about subordinate level categories (hatchback, Granny Smith, card table)?

  • A:

    • less distinct from neighboring categories

    • not more informative than basic-level

    • frequently morphologically complex


4 3 4 shortcomings of prototype theory

4.3.4 Shortcomings of prototype theory

  • Simplistic nature of feature list – cannot account for interaction of factors

  • Odd number paradox – people will score GOE even if there is a necc&suff criterion (1, 3, 5 are “better examples” of odd number than 135 or 10,975…)

  • Where do features come from?

  • Why are some categories mutually exclusive?

  • Boundaries – where are they and how do they behave?


4 3 5 the frame based account of prototype effects

4.3.5 The frame-based account of prototype effects

  • Frames, ICMs can guide us toward a better understanding of the structure of cognitive categories.


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