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By Vyvyan Evans

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Categorisation An important recent finding in cognitive psychology is that categorisation is not criterial. This means that it is not an ‘all-or-nothing’ affair. 1 Some members of the category CUP categories often appear to be fuzzy in nature, with some members of a category appearing to be more central and others more peripheral. Moreover, degree of centrality is often a function of the way we interact with a particular category at any given time. 1. 1(e). 1(e), a speaker might refer to it as a cup.

How might we use language to describe a scene like this? Most English speakers will agree that (13a) is an appropriate description but that (13b) is ‘odd’: (13) a. The cat is on the chair. b. The chair is under the cat. 5 The cat is on the chair 17 COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS: AN INTRODUCTION Why should (13b) be ‘odd’? It’s a perfectly grammatical English sentence. From what psychology has revealed about how the human mind works, we know that we have a tendency to focus our attention on certain aspects of a visual scene.

An accessible introduction to linguistics for the layperson; an entertaining read. ) (1996) Each of these volumes is an introductory-level collection of papers on various aspects of cognitive science. The Green volume places a particular emphasis on linguistics. A list of texts that provide an overview of the issues of concern to cognitive linguists • Allwood and Gärdenfors (eds) (1999). A collection of papers on various aspects of cognitive semantics; the paper by Gärdenfors provides a particularly useful overview.

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