Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers: Semantic Extension From the Ethnoscience Tradition by David Kronenfeld

Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers: Semantic Extension From the Ethnoscience Tradition

byDavid Kronenfeld

Paperback | April 30, 1999

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Meaning seems to shift from context to context; how do we know when someone says "grab a chair" that an ottoman or orange crate will do, but when someone says "let's buy a chair," they won't? Somehow, in spite of this slipperiness, we usually understand each other in conversations, and havestraightforward ways of querying each other when we sense a gap in understanding. We seem capable of using ordinary language to communicate with as much precision as we are willing to take the time and effort for--through attention to interactive feedback, and the use of paraphrastic modification,specification, and explication. In Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers, Kronenfeld offers a theory that explains both the usefulness of language's variability of reference and the mechanisms which enable us to understand each other in spite of the variability. His theory is rooted in the tradition of ethnoscience (or cognitiveanthropology), a tradition which promotes an ethnography of explicit methodology and mathematically precise theory while remaining responsive to the complexity of particular cultures. Kronenfeld accomplishes three things with his theory. First, he distinguishes prototypic referents from extendedreferents. Second, he describes the various bases of semantic extensions. Finally he details how we use the situational context of usage, the linguistic context of opposition and inclusion, and the conceptual context of knowledge about the world to interpret communicative events.

About The Author

David Kronenfeld is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside.
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Details & Specs

Title:Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers: Semantic Extension From the Ethnoscience TraditionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.75 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195094085

ISBN - 13:9780195094084

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"...[Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers] gets a high score....I strongly recommend the book for professionals and advanced graduate students..."--Language in Society