Componential Analysis and the Study of Meaning

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Linguistic Society of America Componential Analysis and the Study of Meaning Author(s): Ward H. Goodenough Reviewed work(s): Source: Language, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1956), pp. 195-216 Published by: Linguistic Society of America Stable URL: . Accessed: 11/12/2011 13:36 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For…show more content…
The first step in this procedure is, of course, to record as many discriminable differences in the acoustical phenomena as possible by means of a phonetic system of notation. Not all discriminable differences, however, serve as criteria by which functionally distinct categories of sound, phonemes, are differentiated. It is an object of linguistic analysis by systematically examining the mutual distributions (in recorded speech) of the acoustical phenomena as phonetically noted, to produce the most adequate possible theory as to what are the language's phonemes, its elementary phonological components. Now let us suppose that the language under study is a written one, and that the notation used by those who are literate in it is partially phonemic, but not perfectly so. There are some phonemes which are written with more than one symbol and some which are written with the same symbol, e.g. the identical phonemes of English see and sea and the different phonemes of English read in the expressions will read and have read. Let us suppose, furthermore, that it is the linguist's job not only to determine what the phonemes of the language are but to show
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