Semantic maps, for synchronic and diachronic typology*

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This paper presents classical maps as accounts of both the synchronic polysemy of constructions and of their gradual semantic developments. This presentation is set against the background of a critique of the usefulness of classical semantic maps, voiced by the proponents of a newer kind of map, a statistical one. The paper reviews the debate, elaborating on points made before and introducing new ones. The new ones concern the issues of the complexity of semantic maps and of the nature of the connections between map points. Illustrations are drawn from the areas of indefinite and impersonal pronouns, modal expressions and constructions of additive scalarity (of the type expressed by English <i>even</i>).


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