The categorization of the Estonian domain of “musical instruments” ‒ listeners vs musicians and the comparison of basic levels

  • Martin Eessalu


The article examines the prototypicality phenomena in the Estonian language’s lexical-semantic domain of “musical instruments”. There are two groups of people under examination: (i) those who consider themselves actively involved in music (practitioners), and (ii) those who don’t (listeners). To elicit basic terms, a cognitive salience index is used. The results show that the main common feature between the groups is that the basic level consists of the same members: klaver‘piano’, kitarr ‘guitar’ and viiul ‘violin’. While klaver and viiul are stable in their nature, the salience of kitarr varies greatly, as listeners put it in the leading position and practitioners nearly leave it out of the basic level. Generally, the two groups share the same category structure, as based on cognitive salience index values both have: (i) three basic terms, (ii) a connecting group, and (iii) the rest of the category members with their index values decreasing toward zero