There are fewer distinctions in any language than there are distinct things in the universe. If, therefore, languages are ways of representing the universe, a primary function of their elements must be to allow the much more varied kinds of elements out of which the universe is made to be categorized in specific ways. A prototype approach to linguistic categories is a particular way of answering the question of how this categorization operates. It involves two claims. First, that linguistic categorization exploits principles that are not specific to language but characterize most, if not all, processes of cognition. Secondly, that a basic principle by which cognitive and linguistic categories are organized is the prototype principle, which assigns elements to a category not because they exemplify properties that are absolutely required of each one of its members, but because they exhibit, in varying degrees, certain types of similarity with a particular category member which has been established as the best example (or: prototype) of its kind.

The development of the prototype approach into a satisfactory body of theory obviously requires both that its empirical base be enriched, and that its conceptual foundations be clarified. These are the areas where this volume, in its 26 essays, makes original contributions. The first two parts contain discussions in which various kinds of linguistic phenomena are analysed in ways that make essential use of prototype notions. The last two parts contain discussions in which prototype notions themselves become the object, rather than the instrument, of analytical scrutiny.

chapter |13 pages


ByS. L. Tsohatzidis

part 1|196 pages

On the content of prototype categories: questions of word meaning

chapter 1|31 pages

A survey of category types in natural language

ByCecil H. Brown

chapter 2|26 pages

Possible verbs and the structure of events

ByWilliam Croft

chapter 3|17 pages

Prototypical considerations on modal meanings

BySteven Cushing

chapter 4|41 pages

Belief ascription, metaphor, and intensional identification

ByAfzal Ballim, Yorick Wilks, John Barnden

chapter 5|19 pages

Negated beliefs and non-monotonic reasoning

ByRyszard Zuber

chapter 6|8 pages

Lexical hierarchies and Ojibwa noun derivation

ByRichard A. Rhodes

chapter 8|16 pages

The lexicographical treatment of prototypical polysemy

ByDirk Geeraerts

part 2|134 pages

On the Content of prototype categories: further questions

chapter 9|26 pages

Settings, participants, and grammatical relations

ByRonald W. Langacker

chapter 10|8 pages

On the semantics of compounds and genitives in English*

ByPaul Kay, Karl Zimmer

chapter 11|20 pages

A notional approach to the French verbal adjective*

ByRoger McLure, Paul Reed

chapter 13|22 pages

Toward a theory of syntactic prototypes 1

ByMargaret E. Winters

chapter 14|8 pages

Accent in prototypical wh questions

ByDwight Bolinger

chapter 15|19 pages

Prototypical manners of linguistic action *

ByAnne-Marie Diller

chapter 16|11 pages

Where partonomies and taxonomies meet *

ByBarbara Tversky

part 3|102 pages

On the context of prototype methods: questions of word meaning

chapter 18|14 pages

Prototype theory and its implications for lexical analysis *

ByAdrienne Lehrer

chapter 19|21 pages

Prototype theory and lexical semantics

ByD. A. Cruse

chapter 20|35 pages

Representation, prototypes, and centrality

ByClaude Vandeloise

chapter 21|9 pages

A few untruths about ‘lie'

ByS. L. Tsohatzidis

part 4|111 pages

On the context of prototype methods: further questions

chapter 22|16 pages

On ‘folk' and ‘scientific' linguistic beliefs

ByRoy Harris

chapter 23|23 pages

Gestures during discourse: the contextual structuring of thought 1

ByNancy L. Dray, David McNeill

chapter 24|33 pages

Why words have to be vague

ByRoger McLure

chapter 25|14 pages

Schemas, prototypes, and models: in search of the unity of the sign

ByJohn R. Taylor