Cognitive Linguistics
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Project Categorization
Aristotelian category
Category boundaries
Levels of categorization
Basic level
Category-wide attribute
Collective function
Subordinate level
Superordinate level
Parasitic categorization
Prototype category
Bad member
Degree of membership
Flexible adaptability
Goodness of exemplar
Good member
Informational density
Radial structure
Structural stability
Class inclusion
Degree of generality
Expert taxonomy
Folk taxonomy
Multiple parenting
Scientific taxonomy

Subordinate level categories are found at the bottom of folk taxonomies and diplay a low degree of class inclusion and a low degree of generality.

As members of basic level categories, subordinate level categories are highly specific. They provide identifiable and detailed gestalts with highly detailed configurations of individuating properties.

Often, the linguistic labels for subordinate categories are polymorphemic composite forms, such as compound nouns.

Subordinate categories have the following characteristics

i) They are less good than basic level categories because although they have a high mutual resemblance, they have a low distinctiveness from members of neighboring concepts

ii) They are less informative relative to their immediate hyperonymic category

iii) As stated above they are frequently polymorphic


  • Ungerer, Friedrich & Hans-Jörg Schmid (1996). An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics. London: Longman.
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