Cultural Domains | June 7, 1994



- A cultural domain is a collection of items that in some sense go together or are the same kind of thing

- animals, countries, fruits, NSF campers

- often, cultural domains are linguistic categories C there is a simple name for the set of items, like "fruit" or "vegetables"

- in a way to be defined very closely next week, cultural domains are consensual (not cognitive domain) C there is general agreement regarding membership of most items in the domain

- but like all human things, the boundaries of a domain are porous or fuzzy if you like C there are items that are clearly in the domain, and items that are clearly outside but many items that are in-between



- In general, the objective is to understand the cultural domain, which means

- know what items belong in it

- freelist

- membership test (is a a kind of b?)

- know how it is structured. ie. how the items [are perceived to] relate to each other

- monadic and dyadic attributes

- know how the domain's structure is related to attributes of the informants

- consensus, intracultural variability

- what kind of people have what beliefs about which items


M Types of relations among items

- monadic

- bigger than, fiercer than, more intense than, more expensive than, {better than}

- fundamentally function of single attribute of items


- dyadic

- attributes of pairs of items C cannot be reduced to function of a attributes of each item

- is similar to, distance from,

- becomes, turns into, follows, precedes, modifies

- is dependent on, exchanges with, substitutes for, complements, competes with, interacts with

- type of, cause of, contains, resembles, is dependent on

- adjective MODIFIES noun