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Language Universals$
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Morten H. Christiansen, Christopher Collins, and Shimon Edelman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305432.001.0001

On Semantic Universals and Typology

Chapter:
(p.152) 8 On Semantic Universals and Typology
Source:
Language Universals
Author(s):

Emmon Bach

Wynn Chao

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305432.003.0008

Starting from the assumption that syntactic categories can be universally identified or correlated (whether or not they are instantiated in every languages), this chapter investigates the relation between them and their semantic interpretations, focusing on the nominal domain. It considers two possibilities: first, there might be a universal stock of categories from which individual languages might draw; second, there may be hypotheses that all languages must instantiate particular categories. The situation in phonological systems is illuminating: the stock of possible sounds is given by a general theory of phonetics-phonology, but not all of the categories need be utilized in every language.

Keywords:   semantic theory, model structure, language univerals, semantics, syntax

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