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About the Book

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 have straightforward 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 cognitive anthropology), 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 extended referents. 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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Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780195094084
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publisher Imprint: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Height: 232 mm
  • No of Pages: 288
  • Series Title: Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics
  • Weight: 409 gr
  • ISBN-10: 0195094085
  • Publisher Date: 11 Apr 1996
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Language: English
  • Returnable: N
  • Spine Width: 20 mm
  • Width: 154 mm

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