When Language Survived, Music Resurrected and Computer Died: To the Problem of Covert Ontologies in Language
Creating formal ontologies is one of the current information science trends. However, in the context of taxonomies existing in natural languages another type of class hierarchy seems to be more important – the so-called “covert ontologies” that categorize entities in terms of crypto classes or hidden classes.
The research aims to examine localization of the three entities in the Russian language natural ontology, which seem very different from the formal point of view. These entities are: “language” (i.e. belongs to the formal class of systems), “music” (i.e. represents the formal class of perception or activity), and, finally, “computer” (i.e. embodies the formal class of equipment).
According to our preliminary observations, all three entities under discussion are conceptualized in Russian language as living systems. Our further analysis of 500 occurrences in which the three entities’ names adjoin verbs designing different steps of vitality cycle showed that “music” enters the class of mythic heroes or Demiurges, “language” belongs to the covert class of Humans; at last, “computer” integrates the class of pets.
The revealed properties of natural categorization due to the effects of covert ontology also influence the eventual semantic roles of exploring entities’ names.
KeywordsCovert ontologies Formal and natural semantics Crypto classes
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