Nominal Classification

Gunter Senft

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Nominal Classification

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The philosophical discussion of nominal classification can be traced back to the Greek sophistic philosopher Protagoras (485–414 bc). Obviously, discussing the problem of “category” and “categorization,” and especially the interdependences between category, categorization, and classification on the one hand, and naming, language, thought, perception, and culture on the other hand, has a long tradition, not only in philosophy, but also in linguistics. Even a brief glance over this literature and other literature that deals especially with nominal classification reveals that the basic problems continue to emerge in the discussion of this topic. This article summarizes some of these problems of nominal classification in language, presents and illustrates the various systems or techniques of nominal classification, and points out why nominal classification is one of the most interesting topics in cognitive linguistics. In particular, it discusses measure terms and class terms, noun class systems and gender, numeral classifiers, noun classifiers, genitive classifiers, and verbal classifiers.

Keywords: nominal classification; categorization; language; cognitive linguistics; terms; class terms; noun class systems; gender; numeral classifiers; verbal classifiers

Article.  8871 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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