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ERIC Number: ED138101
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1969-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
A Universalist-Evolutionary Approach in Ethnographic Semantics. Working Paper of the Language Behavior Research Laboratory, No. 27.
Criticism has been directed at a growing body of literature broadly referred to as ethnoscience, ethnosemantics, folk science, ethnographic semantics, and cognitive anthropology. Criticisms concern methodological and analytic aspects of ethnoscientific procedure, and the directions of ethnosemantic research from a theoretical point of view. The present paper seeks to answer these criticisms and to evaluate the theoretical strengths of ethnosemantics. The focus of ethnosemantic work shifted in the early and mid-sixties, partially as a reflection of renewed interest in theoretical linguistics in language universals, and largely due to the growing number of ethnographies being completed. A number of parallels were discovered in formal classificatory structures, the most striking ones being in the area of lexicon. Detailed descriptions of particular lexical domains led to general semantic structures ignored by the methods of traditional cultural anthropology. One example of empirical research suggestive of the universalist-evolutionary orientation in ethnographic semantics is described, namely Berlin and Kay's work on color classification. (CLK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.; California Univ., Berkeley. Inst. of International Studies.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.