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On Tue, 8 Jul 2008 16:04:57 +0200, Lars Finsen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Here is the classification system I used when I set up my first
>substantial word lists in Urianian. There are 17 broad classes that I
>modified as I went along to contain roughly the same number of words
>and give me a good overview over each class as they grew. 

I like your scheme and admire the goal of having roughly the same number of
words in each class. My own approach has been different.

While working on the current revision of the ULD I've made a few changes in
the categories. Here's how they are organized now, with a few examples of
what's in each category. There's a subtle flow from each category to the
next, a hidden (something for which there is no word).

1. adpositions
(above, under, in front of, behind)

2. function words
(and, if, not, you)

3. people
(child, mother, friend, hermit)

4. groupings of people
(tribe, club, team) There are very few items in this category, possibly due
to my reclusive nature -- maybe I have trouble remembering to add concepts
that should go into this pigeonhole.

5. body parts and substances
(arm, heart, bone, urine)

6. body terms
(birth, male, fever, drunk)

7. bodily actions
(walk, eat, laugh, throw)

8. the senses: light, sound, heat (etc)
(red, loud, delicious, warm) This is a freshly reorganized category. Some of
the entries such as "ugly" and "delicious" could have gone into category 19. 

9. animal species and types
(mammal, mosquito, turkey) Items in this category are loosely bundled into
sub-categories based on common folks' thought processes rather than
scientific taxonomy.

10. plant species and types
(tree, banana, potato)

11. natural world
(sky, rain, cave, volcano)

12. tools and basic artifacts
(knife, hammer, chain, lamp)

13. containers, supports, furniture
(basket, bottle, desk, bathtub) The current entry-numbering system only
allows 100 items in each category. Category 12 overflowed, forcing me to
come up with some way to skim off a few items into a new category. This is
what came to mind; a category of things that "hold stuff in or hold stuff up."

14. clothing and fabrics
(silk, thread, shirt, shoe)

15. buildings and institutions
(roof, kitchen, house, bank)

16. government and hierarchy
(border, tax, army, arrest)

17. business and transactions
(money, give, receive, generous)

18. religion and the supernatural
(heaven, ghost, holy, funeral) Recently separated "angel" from "fairy" as
requested long ago by Herman Miller. 

19. evaluation and judgement
(good, fair, respect, doubt) This is a new category, designed to help
eliminate the final "misc. abstract concepts" category that existed in
earlier ULDs.

20. mind and private emotion
(think, notice, remember, fear) Another new category, into which I stuffed
emotions and mental processes that seem intrinsic or internal rather than
social. Many of the items in this category could reasonably have been placed
elsewhere, I suppose.

21. behavior and social emotion
(pride, forgive, loyal, revenge)

22. communication
(language, message, alphabet, pencil)

23. games and entertainment
(toy, music, baseball, animated cartoon)

24. identity
(same, different, resemble, version)

25. numerals
(two, half, second, twice)

26. quantity
(kilogram, total, many, part)

27. degree
(more, less, at least, almost)

28. dimension
(big, shrink, thick, position)

29. direction
(up, south, destination, parallel)

30. motion
(leave, send, carry, visit)

31. vehicles, etc.
(motorcycle, bus, railroad, oar)

32. time and sequence
(the past, recently, next, the day after tomorrow)

33. substances
(water, metal, dirt, glass)

34. foodstuffs
(bread, butter, soup, salad)

35. forms of matter
(curve, helix, layer, juice) One of my favorite categories, although I don't
think anyone else would agree that all these things are related.

36. qualities of matter
(smooth, clean, dry, hollow)

37. matter-related actions
(boil, dig, mix, sink)

38. misc. matter/energy terms
(alkaline, atom, electricity, fire) 

39. events and endeavors
(result, task, progress, use) 

These categories will probably be added in the next version:

40. onomatopes
(bang, boom, splash)

41. interjections
(eek, ouch, oops)

42. specifics and proper nouns
(Monday, Europe, Pacific Ocean)

On the other hand, all categorizing schemes are arbitrary. Pondering the
best category for a concept sometimes seems fun but sometimes seems like a
waste of limited time and energy. So in the long run I plan to remove rigid
categories from the ULD and invite people to contribute alternative
classification schemes.