[2019] 6th session Peter Gärdenfors (Lund Univ.), Time: 2019-10-14, 05:00 PM

– Peter Gärdenfors (Lund Univ.)
– A semantic theory of word classes
– Time: 2019-05-21, 05:00 PM
– Place: #4 302
– Abstract: One of the most fundamental concepts of linguistics is that of word classes. When word classes are taught at an introductory level in school, semantic criteria are used. In contrast, within linguistics a word class is defined in grammatical terms as a set of words that exhibit the same syntactic properties, especially concerning inflections and distribution in sentences. Nevertheless, the fact that major words classes such as verbs, nouns, and adjectives can be identified in almost all languages suggests that there are universal patterns in human cognition that make the division into these classes particularly useful for communication. My aim is to show that the semantic features of word classes are fundamental and that they can be described as conceptual structures. In my book Geometry of Meaning I analyse adjectives, nouns, verbs and prepositions in terms of structures in conceptual spaces. These analyses together with more recent work on demonstratives and articles will be presented in the talk.