Birds, Colours and Prepositions
The Theory of Categorization and its Applications in Linguistics
Paula López Rúa
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
This book is first about categorization and then about linguistic categorization. On the one hand, it gives answers to both general and specific questions about that process (what is categorization for? Is it exclusively human, or exclusively adult? Are categories like bird, blue, furniture, bald, love, mother or subject similar in any way?). On the other hand, it intends to offer a comprehensive, up-to-date view of the alternatives and tools available for the study of categorization in linguistics. The first part of the book is devoted to a detailed account of theoretical foundations and terminological distinctions (for instance, category vs. concept, or concept vs. word vs. object). The second part comprises a comparative analysis of the two major approaches to the study of categorial conception, description and representation: the discrete approach (the classical view) and the non-discrete approach, where the principles of prototype theory are developed. Both perspectives are described, exemplified and evaluated, and the main conclusion drawn from the analysis is the need to consider both the researcher's purpose and the nature of the object of study as determinant factors for the selection of a descriptive tool, be it discrete or non-discrete.
ISBN 9783895867606. LINCOM Studies in Theoretical Linguistics 33. 250pp. 2003