This page is part of the ongoing
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

A taxonomy is a hierarchical structure of units in terms if class inclusion such that superordinate units in the hierarchy include, or subsume, all items in subordinate units. Taxonomies are typically represented as having tree structures.

Taxonomies display degree of specificity such that the superordinate units are very schematic or abstract and the subordinate units are very specific.

In cognitive linguistics taxonomies are hierarcies of concepts and thus types of folk taxonomies. Taxonomy is, along with radial structure, a primary organizing principle in prototype categories.


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