Diachronic Prototype Semantics: A Contribution to Historical Lexicology

Diachronic Prototype Semantics: A Contribution to Historical Lexicology

Diachronic Prototype Semantics: A Contribution to Historical Lexicology

Diachronic Prototype Semantics: A Contribution to Historical Lexicology

Synopsis

Prototype theory makes a crucial distinction between central and peripheral sense of words. Geeraerts explores the implications of this model for a theory of semantic change, in the first full-scale treatment of the impact of the most recent developments in lexicological theory on the study of meaning change. He identifies structural features of the development of word meanings which follow from a prototype-theoretical model of semantic structure, and incorporates these diachronic prototypicality effects into a theory of meaning change.

Excerpt

In the previous chapter, I identified four prototype-theoretical features of semasiological structures, and correlated each of those features with a descriptive hypothesis about the structural characteristics of semasiological changes. in this chapter, four case-studies will be presented that successively support the hypotheses (ζ) to (ι).

2.1 modulations of core cases

In what follows, a case-study will be presented that exemplifies the first prototypical characteristic of semantic change identified in Section 1.3. At the same time, the case-study will demonstrate how the prototype-theoretical interest in salience phenomena can be extended to the domain of onomasiological variation.

In fact, prototype theory is basically a model for the semasiological structure of lexical categories, but lexicology at large is concerned with more than just semasiological structures: as mentioned at the end of the previous chapter, it includes the field of onomasiological research. Moreover, even within the semasiological realm, prototypicality effects are not the only topic to be incorporated into a fullfledged theory of semantics. If prototype theory is, so to speak, mainly concerned with the 'quantifiable' relationships (like salience, centrality, degree of membership) that exist between the elements in a semasiological structure, there exists a more traditional kind of research that is concerned with the 'qualitative' links between the elements in semasiological structures. Studying metaphor and metonymy, for instance, implies focusing on the nature of the associations that occur between a literal meaning and its transferred reading. This section, then, will not only try to establish the validity . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.