Linguistic Category Model

Authors propose a four-level classification of adjectives and verbs by decreasing abstractness, with adjectives being the most abstract. Then come the following categories of verbs:

  • State Verbs (SVs): Refer to mental or emotional states; no clear definition of beginning and end; do not readily take the progressive form; not freely used in imperatives (e.g. like, hate, notice, envy).
  • Interpretative Action Verbs (IAVs): Refer to general class of behaviors; have a defined action with a beginning and end; have positive or negative semantic connotations (e.g. help, cheat, inhibit, imitate).
  • Descriptive Action Verbs (DAVs): Refer to one particular activity and call to at least one physically invariant feature of the action; action has clear beginning and end; usually do not have positive or negative connotations (e.g. call, kiss, talk, stare).

Reference Information

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Paper(s) Using Method

Big Picture Is Better: The Social Implications of Construal Level for Advice Taking

Research Paper by Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Batia Wiesenfeld, and Yaacov Trope.
Published in "Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes" in 2016.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Exploratory Learning, Mobile Technology, and Knowledge Workers’ Role Integration Behaviors

Research Paper by Jean-Nicolas Reyt and Batia Wiesenfeld.
Published in "Academy of Management Journal" in 2015.

Using Abstract Language Signals Power

Research Paper by Albert Han, Pamela Smith, and Cheryl Wakslak.
Published in "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 2014.

The Cognitive Functions of Linguistic Categories in Describing Persons: Social Cognition and Language

Research Paper by Gun Semin and Klaus Fiedler.
Published in "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 1988.

APA-Format Citation

Semin, G. R., & Fiedler, K. (1988). The cognitive functions of linguistic categories in describing persons: Social cognition and language. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(4), 558-568.