A Semantic Prototype of the English Word "Responsible" in Tanzanian Usage

Stephen T-M. Lukusa


Though the notion of prototype is better illustrated by natural species and
conerete objects, this article argues that abstract concepts can also
exemplify it. To prove this, the article investigates the semantic prototype
of the English word responsible. In order to evaluate Tanzanian English
speakers" judgm~nt of several meaning elements forming this semantic
category, the investigation uses a questionnaire based on a set of seven
stories. The assumption behind the question concluding every story is that
the informants' judgment of responsibility involved can be recorded on a
three degree scale. By computing the average score of every story, it is
possible to rank the meaning elements composing a semantic prototype for
different speech communities, and make relevant comparisons.

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