Diachronic Prototype Semantics: A Contribution to Historical Lexicology

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byDirk Geeraerts

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Prototype theory makes a crucial distinction between the 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 thestudy 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. The author strikes a balance between theoretical exploration and diachronic description, supporting each step in the argumentation with detailed case studies which chart the semantic development of particular words, or illustrate specific mechanisms of semantic change. Thus the book provides both atheoretical model for diachronic semantics and a number of methodological strategies and representational formats that exemplify how changes of word meaning can be studied in practice.

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Prototype theory makes a crucial distinction between the 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 thestudy of meaning change. He identifies structura...

Dirk Geeraerts is at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:212 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.67 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198236522

ISBN - 13:9780198236528

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`A well written and useful book. Rigorous studies of how lexical meaning changes over time, such as Geeraerts's, are exactly what are needed to shed light on this essential problem.'William Frawley, Dictionaries - Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America