Lexical Decomposition In Grammar

Dieter Wunderlich

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Lexical Decomposition In Grammar

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


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The hierarchy of conceptual categories involves a level of abstraction called the basic level. This is the level at which the subjects are fastest at identifying category members, at which conceptual priming most easily obtains, at which information is most easily remembered over time, and at which a single mental image can reflect the entire category. Basic-level categories tend to be the first ones acquired by young children, and also tend to be expressed by the simplest words. Various approaches have been developed to deal especially with verbs, which, as the basis of grammatical clauses, are more structured than nouns. Generative semantics explored the idea that the inherent structure of verbs conforms to the syntactic structure of sentences, and therefore should be studied by means of complex paraphrases.

Keywords: level of abstraction; grammatical clauses; generative semantics; Montague Grammar; conceptual semantics

Article.  9101 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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