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Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse 5: Polysemy: the construal of sense boundaries, pt. 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse 5: Polysemy: the construal of sense boundaries, pt. 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cognitive Linguistics Croft&Cruse 5: Polysemy: the construal of sense boundaries, pt. 1

2 5.1 Introduction Q: What is polysemy?

3 5.1 Introduction Q: What is polysemy? A: It is the presence of various meanings associated with a single linguistic unit. It is manifested as variation in the construal of a word on different occasions of its use; the process of isolating a portion of meaning potential

4 5.2.1 Homonymy and polysemy Q: What is the difference between homonymy and polysemy?

5 5.2.1 Homonymy and polysemy Q: What is the difference between homonymy and polysemy? –Homonymy is when two words are (etymologically) distinct, but sound the same due to historical accident –Polysemy is when one word has multiple meanings (and supposedly only one etymological antecedent)

6 5.2.1 Homonymy and polysemy But is it so cut-and-dry? Consider flour vs. flower. They have one etymological source (meaning best part). Do you want to call this polysemy? Or Czech prepositions s off of vs. z from – etymologically distinct, but now semantically identical… Do you want to call that homonymy? ? vs. ?

7 5.2.2 Entrenchment Dictionaries tend to present only the most entrenched meanings

8 5.2.3 Boundary effects Note that there can be some autonomy of senses within ambiguity.

9 Antagonism: attentional autonomy If one sense excludes the other, the senses are in a relationship of antagonism

10 Relational autonomy Basically, what C&C are saying here is that sometimes some of the submeanings are related to each other rather than being fully autonomous. So old vs. new is not fully autonomous from old vs. young.

11 Hyperonyms and meronyms Q: What are they?

12 Hyperonyms, hyponyms, and meronyms Q: What are they? Hyperonym: a superordinate category that subsumes items in lower categories. For example, furniture subsumes chairs, sofas, tables, etc. Hyponym: a subordinate category, that names more specific items. For example beanbag chair, barstool, lounger in relation to chair. Meronym: a word that names a part of a larger whole: leg, seat, back, upholstery, cushion, etc. are meronyms of chair.

13 Compositional autonomy Here the issue is what sense is selected by the construction a word is in. For example, an adjective might select for only one of the meanings of a polysemous noun, as in: steep bank.

14 5.2.4 The nature of full sense units Q: Why are full sense units antagonistic?

15 5.2.4 The nature of full sense units Q: Why are full sense units antagonistic? A: They often have few components in common and belong to different domains. They also resist unification (one cannot be subsumed by the other, nor can they both be members of the same category). But they can be quite close, as in month, which can designate either 4 weeks or a calendar month.


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