Basic level category

Basic level category

A grouping in a natural language system at the level of abstraction at which category members share the most similarity within the category and are the most distinct from other available categories. Using a word at the basic level conveys more information to a native speaker of the language than would a word for a category at a higher or lower level of abstraction. Thus the word bird conveys more information about category members than would a more general word such as animal while a more particular word such as robin indicates fewer differences from other available categories such as blue jay or parakeet. Languages tend to use shorter words for the basic level than other levels of categories, and they are more easily learned and more rapidly recognized than are words for other levels of abstraction. As languages increase the number of words they contain, they tend first to develop words for categories at the basic level of abstraction, then at higher or lower levels of abstraction.

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