Conversation as a site of category learning and category use

Barr, D.J. and Kronmuller, E. (2006) Conversation as a site of category learning and category use. In: Markham, A.B. and Ross, B.H. (eds.) Categories in Use. Series: Psychology of Learning and Motivation (47). Elsevier, pp. 181-211. ISBN 9780125433471 (doi: 10.1016/S0079-7421(06)47006-7)

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Conversation is one of the primary settings of category learning and category use. People spend a large portion of their lives in conversation with other people, and these conversations invariably involve numerous categorizations of entities and situations. Referential communication involves relating language to the world. In reference, the goal of categorization is to establish joint attention on some entity with an interlocutor. Most categorization research can be said to have accepted the labeling as categorization hypothesis, given that the vast majority of studies signal category membership to the learner through the use of a symbolic label. An alternative to viewing labeling as a kind of categorization would be to view it as a kind of social mnemonic that allows people to share attention to an object without bearing the strong entailments involved in nonlinguistic categorization. The simplest definite description involves mentioning the name of a category to which the referent belongs. The lexicon of a language provides a rich, ready-made system of distinctions for classifying referents. This system is characterized by a hierarchical reorganization that makes it possible to classify referents at various levels of specificity: superordinate, basic, and subordinate.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:cognitive science, common ground, conversation, language comprehension, language processing, precedents, psycholinguistics, visual world
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale
Authors: Barr, D.J., and Kronmuller, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience

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