SemChange010Clear - Semantic Change — The most volatile...

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Unformatted text preview: Semantic Change — The most volatile aspect of linguistic change. With enough time or ingenuity, any change is possible. nice — originally ‘ignorant, stupid’ bad, sick — African American slang ‘good’ Sound-meaning relationship Direct? Engl. bow-wow, ding-dong Or not? Germ. wau-wau, klingeling Not ! Engl. hound ≤ dog Germ. Hund French chien Ital. cane Span. perro Problem: Virtual infinity of possible meanings; limits on memory and production Answer 1 : Structure: Phonology (no meaning) Morphology (composite) Syntax (composite) All “out of sight” Answer 2: Convey maximal number of meanings through minimal number of words — Semantic Economy Polysemy Mother to six-year-old son: Bobby, this is Harold Pinter; he’s a great writer Bobby: Can he write a big “M”? Common consequence: Semantic overlap READ 1 READ 2 READ 3 READ 4 RECITE 1 RECITE 2 Also: Semantic fuzziness Fixed Star Luminous body in night sky STAR A N I M A L mammal human being bird fish reptile insect He’s a real animal !!! He’s a real animal !...
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This note was uploaded on 09/11/2011 for the course LING 210 taught by Professor Adrianamolina-munoz during the Spring '11 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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SemChange010Clear - Semantic Change — The most volatile...

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