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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.153-170
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 25 Jan 2021 Revised 10 Mar 2021 Accepted 15 Mar 2021

Perceptions on Generic Exceptions
YoungEun Yoon
Professor, Dept. of English Language and Literature, Ewha Womans University (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Quite recently, two interesting approaches to generics have been put forth, both of which attempt to account for generics based on the notions of alternative sets of entities and features, and relative generics. They are both argued to have much in common with Leslie’s (2008, 2013) cognition-based approach, but grounded on Cohen’s (1999) analysis of relative generics. However, they differ in that the approach by van Rooij and Schulz (2020) tries to explain various generics with the representativeness of features, i.e., value(f), whereas the other by Tessler and Goodman (2019) resorts to one’s prior expectations. In this context, the primary purpose of this paper is to review these new theories on generics and address some shortcomings of these approaches. In doing so, we will propose that the appropriateness of a generic is judged depending on how people perceive its exceptions with their encyclopedic and contextual knowledge. This position will be supported by experimental results.

Keywords: generics, exceptions, absolute/relative generics, alternative sets of entities/features, encyclopedic and contextual knowledge

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