Prototypicality, typicality, and context

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This essay adopts an internalist perspective in order to address a theme central to lexical semantics: the concept of prototype and its associated theories. Assuming a phenomenological point of view enables Violi to explore the crucial topic of the relation between categorization and semantics, or in other words, the difference between categorial prototypicality and semantic typicality. These notions concern, respectively, the prototypicality of something as the most central instance within the superordinate category, and something as the most regular instance within the category. From this point of view, Violi’s essay links closely with Geeraerts’s contribution, which deals with the problem of prototypicality from a semasiological standpoint. Moreover, since it analyses typicality in terms of morphological and perceptive characteristics, it also connects closely with those by Croft and Wood (different images structuring the same content), Kövecses (typicality in emotions), Wildgen (inherent dynamic of language), and Albertazzi (foundational role of perception). Finally, by exploring aspects to do with context, frame, limited set of features, and the nature of the componential structure of meaning, the essay develops several of the issues discussed by Albertazzi in the Introduction.


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