Prospects and problems of prototype theory Cover Image

Prospects and problems of prototype theory
Prospects and problems of prototype theory

Author(s): Dirk Geeraerts
Subject(s): Cognitive linguistics
Published by: Editura Universităţii »Alexandru Ioan Cuza« din Iaşi
Keywords: cognitive linguistics

Summary/Abstract: Parallel to the research that I did on the application of prototype theory to questions of semantic change (which eventually resulted in my Diachronic Prototype Semantics monograph of 1997), I paid attention on a number of occasions to the theoretical clarification of the notion of prototypicality as such (and of the related notion of polysemy: see the second section of this collection). In the paper reprinted here, I try to bring some systematicity into the many uses of the concept ‘prototypicality’ by distinguishing between two cross-classifying dimensions. First, I make a distinction between two crucial structural phenomena underlying prototypicality effects: flexibility (i.e. the absence of clear boundaries and demarcations) and salience (i.e. differences of structural weight). Second, I suggest that both prototypicality phenomena may be found on an intensional level (the level of definitions) and on an extensional level (the level of referents). The cross-classification of the two dimensions defines four basic types of prototypicality effects.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 1-16
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English