Conceptual Categories and Linguistic Categories

Instructor(s): Beth Levin and Malka Rappaport Hovav

This course will explore conceptual categories that find expression in language, and, thus, that are central to the mapping between words and the world, while highlighting the methodological issues involved in the identification of such categories. The greater part of the course will be devoted to conceptual categories claimed to be central to the representation of actions and states and, concomitantly, to the classification of verbs, including scalar change, external vs. internal causation, and motion. The remainder will consider the domain of entities, exploring those conceptual categories that affect the naming of entities and the grammatical properties of nouns, such as artifacts vs. natural kinds and the mass/count distinction. Class discussion and readings will provide theoretical, typological, and psycholinguistic perspectives on the material covered.

The course assumes no specific background in lexical semantics, but will assume familiarity with basic semantic and syntactic concepts.

Course ID:

Mon & Thu 10:30-12:15

Classroom: MUEN E 050

Areas of Linguistics:
Semantics, Pragmatics and Discourse