Ch. 6 | Exercise 8

Chapter 6
Lexical Semantics

Exercise 6.8


For the concept of furniture, list the core, or prototypical, members and the peripheral members. Justify your distinction between core and periphery. What are the defining characteristics of this concept?


Among the terms in the following, name the basic level term(s) and the lower-level terms in each case.

car, hearse, firetruck, jeep, station wagon, van, truck, pick-up truck, tow truck, delivery van, humvee, semi-trailer truck, diesel bus, flatbed truck, bus, taxi(cab), cement mixer, tanker truck, sports utility vehicle (SUV), hybrid, dump truck, garbage truck, sports car, convertible, sedan, coupe, roadster, minivan, school bus, trolley bus, panel truck, camper van, recreational vehicle (RV)


core members:

chair (rocking-, arm-, easy-), sofa (couch, ottoman, loveseat, chaise longue, divan) stool (foot-), bench, bed (day-, cot, crib, cradle), recliner, table (coffee-, dining , end-, side-), desk, console, bookcase, stereo/t.v. cabinet, sideboard, buffet, dresser, bureau, chest, wardrobe, coat rack, hat rack, umbrella stand

peripheral members:

throne, dais, cupboard, cabinet, counter, bunk, stretcher, hammock, altar, pulpit, lectern, podium, workbench, sink, toilet, lamp, mirror, carpet, picture, drapes, blinds, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, picnic table, lawn chair (may be core?)

Core members must be moveable, not built in, used inside the home for everyday use.

lectern, podium, pulpit, altar – not used in the home

cabinet, cupboard, workbench, altar, sink, toilet – not moveable

throne, dais, stretcher – not for everyday use

hammock, workbench, picnic table, lawn chair – not used inside the home

sink, toilet – not moveable, would be considered “fixtures”

mirror, lamp, picture, carpet, drapes, blinds – would be considered “furnishings”

dishwasher, washing machine, dryer – not moveable, would be considered “appliances”


The basic level terms would likely be car, truck, van, and bus.

car (station wagon, jeep, humvee, taxi(cab), SUV, hybrid, sports car, convertible, sedan, coupe, roadster)

van (delivery van, camper van, RV?)

truck (pick-up, semi-trailer truck, tow truck, panel truck, flatbed truck, firetruck, garbage truck, dump truck, cement mixer, tanker truck)

bus (school bus, trolley bus, diesel bus)

It might be possible to combine “van” and “truck”, but what would the basic level term be?