Categorizing with Shapes: Capturing Commonalities in Meaning Representation, an Ongoing Research Project
Lakoff (1987)’s Women, fire and dangerous things reveals that elements as divergent as the title shows can have commonalities which assist our understanding of concepts and meaning. From this standpoint, the current research project adopts a Shapes thinking (as a Meta-language) in meaning categorization. The project proposes two atomic Shapes called the Strait and Kurve (coinages from ‘straight’ and ‘curve’) for categorization purposes. The atomic Shapes are as follows:
The Strait: │
The Kurve: < or C.
The motivation for the atomic shapes came by looking at the forms of alphabetic written language, transcription symbols, ancient Greek-Latin forms (also adapted from ancient pictographic forms of language) etc. The observation made is that codified alphabetic forms and most signs are “redundantly and consistently” represented in terms of smaller building blocks” (Awuku 2011:152). Thus the aim of the ongoing study is to restate an old concern (redundancy in language forms/representation) and to make the point that by adopting a Shape’s perspective and situating this within categorization, common features in both language and the objects that language names in the world can be captured on a much more interdisciplinary basis. By decomposing and capturing commonalities, the project additionally aims to produce a descriptive lexicon which is a particular catalog linking features of language with concrete objects in the world. The lexicon will serve for research in meaning representation and interpretation in a global interdisciplinary perspective. The overall interest is to do away with or reduce current perceptions of the world as a bunch of seemingly disparate concepts or entities.
Keywords - Shapes, Categorization, Alphabetic-Phonetic Written Language Forms-Symbols, Redundancy, Objects In The World, Meaning, Description, Lexicon.