Words whose meanings address subsets of a larger set

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Words whose meanings address subsets of a larger set

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:10 am

Sorry the title is so unwieldy. I'm talking about situations such as:
red - scarlet, crimson, burgundy, vermilion ...
There is a word I've forgotten that describes either the status of "red" here (hardly 'collective noun'), OR that of the words describing the more narrowly defined hues, OR perhaps the relationship. It's a "word"-word, not a technical one like genus / species.
Submitted by Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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Words whose meanings address subsets of a larger set

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:25 am

Edwin, Not exactly sure what you are asking for, but do you mean subsets and supersets. Red is the SUPERSET of scarlet, crimson, burgundy, vermilion, . . . and SUBSETS of that ‘superset’ may be formed from them. Or are you thinking of something more than that?
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Ken G – July 2, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Words whose meanings address subsets of a larger set

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:39 am

I'm almost certain, Ken, that I came across a " 'word' - word" - in the same vein as "antonym", "autolog/ue"; "Janus word" ... but I've forgotten both the word and where I found it! It would be interesting to check its usage against the precisely-defined set terminology - what defines inclusion...
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:53 am

Edwin,

"taxonomic" or "taxonomic term" may fit the bill for the superset under certain circumstances. Otherwise, I can't think of anything.
Reply from Phil White (Munich - Germany)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:22 am

Found it! Trawling through reference books isn't much fun, especially if you're not sure which ones to trawl through. Anyway, the "Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar" states that: ' "knives" and "forks" are co-hyponyms of [the same superordinate term] [hypernym] "cutlery" ' .
The "Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language" warns that this is a linguistic and "not a real-world" classification, pointing out, for instance, that we commonly use the word "animal" at three levels - to contrast with "human"; "bird, fish, insect..."; and "vegetable". And apparently, in Classical Greek, the lexemes (words or phrases) for "carpenter", "doctor" and "flautist" are all hyponyms of "demiourgos" - there is no close analogy in English.
Sorry about the near-monologue.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:37 am

Edwin, Here’s my best shot: How about HYPERNYM and HYPONYM.

HYPERNYM/HYPERONYM/SUPERORDINATE: A word that has a more general meaning than another; e.g. in the relationship between chair and furniture, ‘furniture’ is a hypernym; in the relationship between horse and animal, ‘animal’ is a hypernym (‘superordinate dates from the 17th century, couldn’t find date for hyponym, but would assume 1950s as below)

HYPONYM: A word that has a more specific meaning than another; e.g. in the relationship between chair and furniture, ‘chair’ is a hyponym; in the relationship between horse and animal, ‘horse’ is a hyponym. [this is a relatively new first appearing in the early 1960s as a backformation of ‘hyponomy,’ which itself appeared in the early 1950s (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)

Note: some of these words only appear in ‘some’ dictionaries

(Encarta, Random House Unabridged Dictionary, http://www.fun-with-words.com/nym_words.html )
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Ken G – July 2, 2004


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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:51 am

Edwin, You must have gotten there a few minutes before I did. Interesting, I never saw these words before today.

Thanks,

Ken – July 2, 2004

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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 5:05 am

I wouldn't like to play you at Cluedo, Ken. Do you like the implied gulf (in the C E of L) between linguistics and the real world?
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 5:20 am

Edwin, For those who don’t know what the hell we are talking about – and I’m not sure I do – I assume by C E of L you are referring to the ‘categorical exclusion of language’ as opposed to the supposed lack of such certainty in the real world. I guess I don’t like the implied gulf, if there is one, because I would disagree that there is that big a rift when one considers such certainties in the ‘real world’ as the certainty of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which tells us with certainty that one cannot know both the location and momentum of a particle with unlimited certainty (or for that matter the product of the uncertainties in the measurement of any two canonically conjugate variables (e.g. position and momentum, energy and time). And then there is the Pauli exclusion principle which tells us with certainty that no two electrons can be in the same quantum state in an atom. These two examples sound pretty categorical to me. And the list does go on. So, no, I don’t like the implication that there is an implied gulf. And BTW didn’t have a clue what Cluedo was, but Googled it and it does sound pretty interesting and I think I’d like it! I’d probably get whipped, though. There are so many things I like but am lousy at! (<:)
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Ken – July 2, 2004

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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 1:01 pm

Hey Edwin, I just thought of one thing. I guess in my previous comment I was thinking we were talking about categorical as meaning 1) without exceptions or conditions, absolute, unqualified and unconditional, “a categorical denial.” But it also has two other meanings 2) In logic it means a) when talking about a proposition: analyzable subject and an attribute related by a verb, as in the proposition “All humans are mortal.” b) when talking about a syllogism: having categorical (absolute) propositions as premises). “All animals are mortal (categorical proposition – premise #1). Humans are animals (categorical proposition – premise #2). Therefore humans are mortal.” 3) just plain old pertaining to categories.

I guess the ‘C’ in C E of L might be talking more about 3). If it is, then I still have the same reservation about saying there is a gulf between linguistics and the real world, but now I’ll give as a ‘real world’ example (assuming physics is of the real world), fermions and bosons. Fermions are particles such as electrons, protons, or neutrons having a half-odd-integer number of quantum units of spin and conforming to the Fermi-Dirac statistics. Bosons are particles such as photons, meson, or alpha particles (nuclei of helium atoms), having zero spin (as do most atoms and molecules) or an integral number of quantum units of spin and conforming to the Bose-Einstein statistics. If you’re not into physics – trust me. (<:) And if you are in one category you are not in the other (fermion or boson, not ‘into physics’ or not) – and that would strike me as categorical exclusion. So I’ve covered my ass – I think! (<:)

Ken – July 2, 2004



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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 1:15 pm

Sorry, everybody especially Ken, the research was so taxing I sloppily contracted "Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language" (which is demanding but often fascinating) to 'C E of D'. And fortuitously tricked Ken into some valuable revelations. Not all spin-doctors are to be despised.
I was really getting at the undeniable fact that most attempts at communication, classification and explanation - whether in everyday conversation or, following in Ken's direction, scientific modelling - are less than precise. This could be because we're too sloppy to spell things out fully; because of inadequacies in the language used at the moment; because of inherent difficulties in describing reality using language, as we don't understand either communication or reality fully. Traditional pure maths tends to stick to safer ground. I can imagine a mathematician commenting on a linguist's example of a hypernym - hyponym situation, "But that's not a well-defined set." We probably NEED different registers - but we need to recognise the validity of the other fellow's, and where conflicts are likely to arise.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 1:29 pm

Edwin, Talk about imprecision – How’d we go from ‘The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language’ (CEEL) – at least that’s what it’s called on this side of the pond – to C E of D [‘sic’], or as in your first communication the C E of L. But inexactitude, whim, starts and fits, missteps, belly flops, misunderstandings, wrong turns, mishearings, etc. is what the English language involves as do many of the other fun and real things in this ‘real world.’ (<:)
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Ken – July 3, 2004


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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 1:44 pm

Oops - the L form must have racemised. Over here, we don't need the second "E" because we don't know any other languages. (The Post Office is now even leaving the DENOMINATION off its stamps, though the replacement "First Class" may be a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act.)
If your version of English weren't so obviously far evolved, we'd probably be trying to charge you royalties.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 1:58 pm

Edwin, Try to charge royalties and you may get sued for willful distribution of a defective product! (<:)

Ken – July 6, 2004

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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jan 02, 2002 2:13 pm

It'll take centuries for all parties to accept the legality or otherwise of the language the case is to be conducted in. Which country could the Word Crimes Tribunal be held in? The lawyers will snaffle (an accepted legal term) all the royalties. A princely sum. And we'll all be tied up in red tape, because an Englishman's word ...
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