From Polysemy to Semantic Change
Towards a typology of lexical semantic associations
This book is the result of a joint project on lexical and semantic typology which gathered together field linguists, semanticists, cognitivists, typologists, and an NLP specialist. These cross-linguistic studies concern semantic shifts at large, both synchronic and diachronic: the outcome of polysemy, heterosemy, or semantic change at the lexical level. The first part presents a comprehensive state of the art of a domain typologists have long been reluctant to deal with. Part two focuses on theoretical and methodological approaches: cognition, construction grammar, graph theory, semantic maps, and data bases. These studies deal with universals and variation across languages, illustrated with numerous examples from different semantic domains and different languages. Part three is dedicated to detailed empirical studies of a large sample of languages in a limited set of semantic fields. It reveals possible universals of semantic association, as well as areal and cultural tendencies.