[b-greek] Re: Necessary and sufficient conditions?

From: Kimmo Huovila (kimmo.huovila@helsinki.fi)
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 13:11:44 EST

Language has categories that have clear-cut boundaries, such as even and
odd numbers (I am using this only by way of example - the phenomenon is
not limited to numbers). Psycholinguistic experimentation has shown that
some numbers are "better representatives" of these categories than
others. Of course, mathematically this is not true. A comprehensive
linguistic theory needs a way to deal with both kinds of categorization
(the folk one with better and worse even numbers and the expert one with
a mathematical definition - terms 'folk' and 'expert' from Taylor*). The
prototype theory has concentrated on the folk model of categorization
whereas the 'classical' view of categorization has concentrated on
expert categories.

Taylor (to whom I refer in my footnote 5 on p. 7) argues for the
pervasiveness of folk categories even in the area of even and odd
numbers. Good, but I expanded the analytical tool of prototypes a little
bit to deal with both phenomena, as it can be analyzed as two scalars.

Some categories have a larger area of unclear categorization than
others. And some features are more central to categorization than
others. Thus we need the two scalars anyway in prototype theory. If we
go to one extreme in both parameters, we have actually arrived in expert
categories. Thus the same tool can be expanded to cover not only the
folk categories usually dealt with by the prototype theory, but also the
expert ones.

We could also say that even though there are more and less typical
representatives of the category of even numbers (folk model), the actual
limit of the category is clear cut (expert model). In this case both
models are represented in the average speaker's linguistic
understanding, and need to be accounted for.

In case you are wondering, the main idea in section 1.4.4 is not a
standard formulation of the prototype theory. It might be original with
me (possibly some one else has come up with the same idea, but I have
not read it anywhere).

I hope this helps.

Kimmo Huovila

* Taylor, John R., Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in Linguistic
Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Section 4.3

"Jon D. Boyd" wrote:
> Kimmo,
> I just finished reading your thesis "Towards a Theory of Aspectual
> Nesting for New Testament Greek," which I really enjoyed. I understand
> the majority of it but don't understand the section on "Necessary and
> sufficient conditions?" (1.4.4). Could you explain that a little more?
> Thanks,
> Jonathan Boyd
> Ankeny, IA

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:53 EDT