Abstract Words in Abstract Worlds

Abstract Words in Abstract Worlds

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Koivisto-Alanko, Päivi
Abstract Words in Abstract Worlds. Directionality and Prototypical Structure in the Semantic Change in English Nouns of Cognition
Uusfilologinen yhdistys
Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 58
Helsinki 2000, 270 pp.


Abstract nouns denoting cognition have a complex semantic history. This work examines the processes of semantic change from a cognitive semantic point of view. The main focus falls on the problem of directionality: are the tendencies of unidirectionality and subjectification reported in grammaticalization also observable in semantic change in general? Do directional processes of change appear on different levels of semantic analysis? The discussion rests on prototype-semantic analyses of corpus data of the noun wit from Late Middle English to the present. Onomasiological questions and cultural change are also addressed.

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ISBN 951-9040-00-5
ISSN 0355-0192