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mar. 27/04/2021 Atelier Typologie sémantique
Conférence de :
  • Thanasis Georgakopoulos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)

dans le cadre DILIS

From cross-linguistic polysemy to semantic change: Methodological issues, representational techniques and theoretical challenges

A semantic map is a method for visually representing the relationships between meanings based on patterns of co-expression across languages (Haspelmath, 2003; Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2018). This method has proved attractive to typologists because it provides a convenient graphical display of the interrelationships between meanings or functions across languages, while (at the same time) differentiating what is universal from what is language-specific. The semantic map model was initially conceived to describe patterns of co-expression in grammatical categories. However, several studies have shown that it can be fruitfully extended to lexical items (e.g. François, 2008) and even constructions (e.g. Koptjevskaja‐Tamm, to appear-2022), suggesting that any type of meaning can be integrated in a map. Notably, semantic maps can also incorporate information about directionality of change (e.g. van der Auwera & Plungian, 1998).

In this talk, I address one of main pending methodological issues within the semantic map tradition, namely the integration of the diachronic dimension into lexical semantic maps (Georgakopoulos & Polis, to appear-2021; cf. François, to appear-2022). Combining a quantitative approach to large-scale synchronic polysemy data with a qualitative evaluation of the diachronic material in two text languages, ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek, it will be shown that weighted diachronic semantic maps can capture informative generalizations about the organization of the lexicon and its reshaping over time. From a more practical point of view, it will be argued that the use of complex multi-edge graphs can capture directionalities in semantic change as well as diverse types of relationships between meanings (e.g. metonymy and metaphor).

François, A. (2008). Semantic maps and the typology of colexification: Intertwining polysemous networks across languages. In M. Vanhove (Ed.), From polysemy to semantic change. Towards a typology of lexical semantic associations (pp. 163–215). John Benjamins: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

François, A. (to appear-2022). Lexical tectonics: Mapping structural change in patterns of lexification. In T. Georgakopoulos & S. Polis (Eds.), The future of mapping: new avenues for semantic maps research. Special issue in Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft.

Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2018). The semantic map model. State of the art and future avenues for linguistic research. Language and Linguistic Compass, 12(2),1-33. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12270

Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (to appear-2021). Lexical diachronic semantic maps. The diachrony of time-related lexemes. Journal of Historical Linguistics.

Haspelmath, M. (2003). The geometry of grammatical meaning: Semantic maps and cross‐linguistic comparison. In M. Tomasello (Ed.), The new psychology of language (Vol. 2) (pp. 211–243). New York: Erlbaum.

Koptjevskaja‐Tamm, M. (to appear). Semantic maps and Temperature: capturing the lexicon-grammar interface across languages. In T. Georgakopoulos & S. Polis (Eds.), The future of mapping: new avenues for semantic maps research. Special issue in Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft.

van der Auwera J., & Plungian, V. A. (1998). Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology, 2(1), 79–124. doi:10.1515/lity.1998.2.1.79

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