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The collective (plural: collective ; Latin [noun] collectivum ), also known as a collective name , collective term or collective term , is a linguistic expression that summarizes an indefinite number of similar things or facts in a class.

Use and meaning

The term finds v. a. Use in

  • semantic point of view (in terms of sign and meaning) is a collective term , a term for a class of things, facts or classes.
  • linguistic terms (with respect to the linguistic expression) is a subset of the part of speech noun .
  • civil terms. Here, extremely common family names such as Müller and Schmidt are referred to as collective names with legal significance.

In some cases, a word that is called collective used where no connection to a corresponding singular is dimensionally seen in German, for example, leaves for a collection of leaves, fruit as a collective term for fruits or a herd for a dressing of animals.

In addition, there are different word formation patterns for the formation of collectives on the basis of a singular or a verb . In German , patterns based on suffixes or prefixes such as -schaft ( workforce , citizenship ) , Geb ( mountains , poultry , battle ) , -werk (bush, rules ) , -zeug (hand tools, toys , armor, sails) ) . For some foreign words, the language of origin is used ( management , instruments , clientele ). There can also be form equality with the singular, such as the expression word in German in the sense of "statement, speech".

Sometimes the names of substances (material names , continuatives) such as water , wood , wood , stone , gold , cattle are distinguished from the collectives .

The numeral of the collective is the collective number .

Concept history in philosophy

The grammatical theorists of the Stoic epoch and later Boethius differentiated generic terms from proper names, from which they distinguished collective terms. These are terms for a number of things with a common property. As such, they are closer to the generic term than to the proper name. This distinction was retained until the 17th century and supplemented by the distinction between generic and specific collective terms. The former denote aggregates that are only determined by specifying additional predicates ("the set, group, etc. of all ..."). The second denote uniform summaries of a group of individuals (“the people”, “the forest”) for whom there is no singular form. The further distinction between collective and distributive terms made by John Stuart Mill relates to the fact that the former cannot denote every element of sets (e.g. “the city council”).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: collective  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Collective term  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Werner König : dtv-Atlas for the German language (= dtv 3025). 10th revised edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-423-03025-9 , page 11
  2. ^ Helmut Glück (ed.), With the assistance of Friederike Schmöe : Metzler Lexikon Sprach. 3rd, revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, ISBN 3-476-02056-8 (keyword: “substance description”).
  3. Keyword collective term in the Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Vol. 4, Basel 1976, Sp. 881–883.