12/10 Nominal Classification

Prof. Senft’s second lecture explores the problem of nominal classification. The main question is to determine how humans use language to organize, categorize and communicate about the perceived word.

In order to understand the relation between language and world, Prof. Senft will discuss different typologies of nominal classification found in natural languages. Then, by studying the Kilivila language of the Trobriand Islands, he will raise some questions that are relevant to Cognitive Linguistics: Are the systems of nominal classification universal or culture-related? What do linguistic categories classify: extralinguistic referents or intralinguistic categories such as ‘nouns’? Also, given that classifiers also carry their own meaning, does their meaning influence what is classified or does the meaning of their objects influence them?

Although many of the classifiers in the Kilivila language seem to rely on universal categories, Prof. Senft will show that these categories are always expressed in a cultural-specific way and that, from this perspective, language influences thought.


Gunter Senft

Gunter Senft

Prof. Gunter Senft
德國馬克斯 · 普朗克心理語言學研究所

Gunter Senft 教授是德國馬克斯.普朗克心理語言學研究所的資深研究員。身為南島語系專家,他的研究重點為語言、文化與認知、名詞類分、空間概念化、人類語言學與瀕危語言,並特別關注語言和言說行動在文化、社會與人際網絡構成的現象與力量。



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