Assignment 2

Radial Categories and Frames, by Zach Tomaszewski

for LING 640G, Fall 2002, taught by Dr. Ben Bergen

Radial Categories

  1. The inebriated hippie caught his cape on the sharp corner of the table.
  2. The gregarious third-grader spent half the day sitting in the corner of the classroom.
  3. The referee sent the boxers back to their corners.
  4. By the end of his term, President Smith had only a handful of supporters in his corner.
  5. The pitcher has made his career throwing sliders over the outside corner of the plate.
  6. To get a neat fold, hold the corners of the tablecloth together.
  7. Good times are just around the corner.
  8. Our language revitalization project has turned a corner.
  9. The greedy collector cornered the market on Jar-Jar action figures.
  10. The journalist came back with an incredible photograph of a pack of wild dogs that had cornered a leopard up a tree.
  11. His grandmother lives on Pine Street, just around the corner from his apartment.
  12. Fluffy the cat cornered a fat white rat.

These example sentences contain a number of senses of the word corner. The following is my classification of these senses:

literal point
A corner, in the most literal sense, is the point where two sides or edges of a shape or object meet to form a single point. The two sides generally form an internal angle of 90 degrees. However, we usually focus on the outside of the shape (the complementary 270 degree angle).
Sentences: i, v, vi
bounded internal space
In this sense, we are referring only to the internal space, near the corner, bounded by the edges. We are not referring to the point or the edges per se. This is a case of metonymy--using the whole corner (edges, point, space) to only refer to the internal bounded space.
Sentences: ii, iii
boxing corner
The use of bounded internal space with respect to boxing can be used to metaphorically describe other personal relationships. This conceptual metaphor could be called CASUALLY SUPPORTING SOMEONE IS BEING IN THEIR BOXING CORNER. (I say casual, because in this case, a supporter is of much help but still doesn't aid the fighter with the actual fighting.)
Sentences: iv.
cornered quarry
This sense refers to an event where a predator has chased some prey into a (bounded internal space) corner. The prey has no escape route. This simple, "literal" cornering, as in xii, could be metonymy, using the corner part to describe the whole scenario. However, this is less clear with x, where there is no corner involved. In this case, cornered in a tree is probably metaphorical. With ix, it is clear that this sense is a conceptual metaphor, since there are no corners nor is a market a physical quarry. Though the link is difficult to pin down, the sense of a predator trapping its prey is clearly shared by all these.
Sentences: xii, ix, x
around the corner
This sense is used when an object or goal is obscured by a large physical corner. The corner is often formed by the walls of a building, either indoors or outdoors. This is metonymy (part for part) referring to an area on the other side of the corner.
Sentences: xi
metaphorical around the corner
We use the around the corner sense when we are referring to an unforeseeable future, especially one that results from a change of technique or method. This is a conceptual metaphor of THE UNFORESEEABLE FUTURE IS AROUND A CORNER, which is quite related to the LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor.
Sentences: vii, viii
Depiction of the above radial catogories.


These words all relate to a single frame. This frame could be called the replacing frame. This frame has the following features:

Some of these frame features are better highlighted by the different example words:

to replace
The classic case of permanent replacement, usually performed by an external mover.
I replaced that burnt-out lightbulb
a replacement
This word highlights the second/replacing entity in a classic replacement.
Since you're retiring next week, we've started training your replacement.

It can also highlight the whole action as a noun:
Hmm, this new module isn't seated correctly in the socket. Who performed the replacement?
to substitute
To replace only temporarily; again frequently done by an external mover.
Since Bob the shortstop has a broken arm, George is going to substitute for him.
(Note: it depends on the situation whether George is an autonomous second entity, or whether the coach is the external mover.)
a substitute
This word highlights the second entity in a temporary replacement.
We had a substitute teacher today.
a substitution
The action of substituting as a whole.
My cookies have carob chips instead of chocolate! Who is responsible for this atrocious substitution?!
to succeed
This word points to a replacement in which the first entity relinquishes its position or office and so the second assumes it easily or by default.
When the king dies, the prince will succeed the throne.
to supplant
In this form of replacement, the second/replacing entity forcefully assumes the position of the first under its own power.
The military staged a coup and supplanted the elected officials.

Various meanings are still possible with these different words.

American consumers have shown a disconcerting willingness to substitute sparkling wine for champagne...

No method substitutes for the skill and sensitivity of the class teacher...

In the first sentence, the substituting is performed by the external mover (consumer). In the second sentence, the substitution cannot adequately be performed at all because the second entity (method) cannot fulfill the role of the first entity (teacher's skill and sensitivity).

It is a taste that seems to be catching on in Japan, replacing a traditional fancy for whale meat...

...nor can we be called upon to replace your ticket with a new one.

In the first sentence, the replacing entity (the new taste) is replacing the old under its own power. In the second sentence, the old ticket is being replaced with a new one by an external mover (the ticket issuers).