Introduction to Cognitive Science
Women, Fire, & Dangerous Things
Last Update: 14 October 2008
material is highlighted
Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things:
What Categories Reveal about the Mind
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press): 92-96.
"Here is a brief version of the Dyirbal ["an aboriginal language of
Australia"] classification of objects in the universe....:"
Bayi: men, kangaroos, possums, bats, most snakes, most fishes,
some birds, most insects, the moon, storms, rainbows, boomerangs, some
- Balan: women, bandicoots, dogs, platypus, echidna,
some snakes, some fishes, most birds, fireflies, scorpions, crickets, the
hairy mary grub, anything connected with water or fire, sun and
stars, shields, some spears, some trees, etc.
- Balam: all edible fruit and the plants that bear them,
tubers, ferns, honey, cigarettes, wine, cake
- Bala: parts of the body, meat, bees, wind, yamsticks, some
spears, most trees, grass, mud stones, noises and language, etc.
[R.M.W.] Dixon's proposed basic schema is this:
- Bayi: (human) males; animals
- Balan: (human) females; water; fire; fighting
- Balam: nonflesh food
- Bala: everything not in the other classes
Copyright © 2008 by
William J. Rapaport