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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Metaphor, metonymy, and category structure in Sereer-Saloum noun classes
Author:David, Oana
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1753-5395)
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:Serer language
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10228195.2015.1016997
Abstract:In this work the author investigates cultural, historical and cognitive motivations for noun classification in Sereer-Saloum, an Atlantic language of the Senegambian language family. She uses a prototype theory approach to categorisation (following Lakoff 1987; Rosch 1975, among others), emphasising semantic motivations for noun classes based on underlying conceptual category structures. In keeping with similar studies, the analysis assumes that linguistic categorisation is reflective of underlying conceptual patterns that are motivated rather than generated. In Sereer, these patterns are largely predictable from information about shape, function and force-dynamics; deviations from the prototype are explained via metonymic and metaphoric extensions, and specific cultural information. Sereer illustrates that even in the face of dialectal diffusion and diachronic attrition of overt morphological noun classes, cognitively salient best examples are maintained and members are reassigned to the remaining classes based on best-fit family resemblances due to the internal logic of the conceptual category system. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]