Bridging Philosophy of Language and Language Learning: From Family Resemblance to the Prototype Theory

Jianfeng BU


Based on detailed interpretation of Wittgenstein’s family resemblance theory and elaboration of the prototype theory which is developed from the former, this article investigates the developmental path of “family resemblance—prototype theory—applied cognitive linguistics” with an attempt to explore the possibility of bridging philosophical theories and language learning practice. In the last part of the article, prototype-based pedagogy is suggested so as to promote second language learning.


Philosophy of language; Family resemblance; Prototype theory; Language learning; Applied cognitive linguistics

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