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ERIC Number: ED138108
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1971-Mar
Pages: 54
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Speculations on the Growth of Ethnobotanical Nomenclature. Working Papers of the Language Behavior Research Laboratory, No. 39.
Berlin, Brent
A general observation about the vocabularies of most languages is that they tend to increase in size over time. Little is known about the causal mechanisms involved in this lexical expansion, but most anthropologists and linguists are in agreement that it probably mirrors general cultural evolution. The study of lexical growth becomes important if it reveals regularities that allow for useful generalizations and predictions about the broader problem of linguistic evolution. This study focuses on the development of plant names, and with the assumption that man's vocabulary for kinds of plants has developed over time, asks (1) whether regularities in the ethnobotanical lexicons of past and present day languages can be observed that allow inferences as to the major patterns of nomenclatural growth, (2) whether such patterns are related to other aspects of man's socio-cultural development, and (3) whether such regularities have productive implications for the evolution of vocabulary in general. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.