Covert categories and folk taxonomies

  • Berlin B
  • Breedlove D
  • Raven P
  • 47

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Abstract

Much of the recent work in ethnoscience has been concerned with the
nature of folk taxonomies, an often stated definition of which requires
that all folk taxa be monolexemically labeled. This paper offers
evidence that unlabeled categories may also be of crucial taxonomic
significance, and we feel that it is inappropriate to treat such
categories apart from the named taxonomic entities of the system.
More importantly, evidence presented indicates that by recognizing
unnamed taxa one may gain an understanding of the structure of a
particular semantic domain that is actually obscured if one focuses
solely on lexically labeled units.

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Authors

  • Brent Berlin

  • Dennis E. Breedlove

  • Peter H. Raven

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