Learner corpora supporting lexical typology
In this paper we would like to have a closer look at the research of the semantic domain of OLD across languages. For MLexT the typological study of OLD was a novice project — it was largely dictionary based and the sample included more than a hundred languages (much more than the average number of 5–8 languages analyzed in a regular research of this kind).
The paper examines the properties of heavy as a perceptual concept, based on evidence from 11 languages. We demonstrate that the semantics of this concept is heterogeneous; lexemes of this field can be used in situations of at least three types: Lifting, Shifting and Weighing. These situations are either lexicalised as separate words or they converge in a single lexeme in various combinations following certain strategies. We also argue that different metaphorical extensions correspond to different situation types; this allows us to use analysis of metaphoric shifts as an additional instrument to establish the semantic structure of direct meanings.
Questionnaires constitute a crucial tool in linguistic typology and language description. By nature, a Questionnaire is both an instrument and a result of typological work: its purpose is to help the study of a particular phenomenon cross-linguistically or in a particular language, but the creation of a Questionnaire is in its turn based on the analysis of cross-linguistic data.
We attempt to alleviate linguist’s work by constructing lexical Questionnaires automatically prior to any manual analysis. A convenient Questionnaire format for revealing fine-grained semantic distinctions includes pairings of words with diagnostic contexts that trigger different lexicalizations across languages. Our method to construct this type of a Questionnaire relies on distributional vector representations of words and phrases which serve as input to a clustering algorithm. As an output, our system produces a compact prototype Questionnaire for cross-linguistic exploration of contextual equivalents of lexical items, with groups of three homogeneous contexts illustrating each usage. We provide examples of automatically generated Questionnaires based on 100 frequent adjectives of Russian, including veselyj ‘funny’, ploxoj ‘bad’, dobryj ‘kind’, bystryj ‘quick’, ogromnyj ‘huge’, krasnyj ‘red’, byvšij ‘former’ etc. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the Questionnaires confirms the viability of our method.
The article deals with the semantics of English adjectives ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’ within a broader typological project. We analyze the main classes of their literal uses, as well as the patterns of metonymical and metaphorical shifts. Some morpho-syntactic properties of these two lexemes are also considered. The discussion touches upon the contribution of our data to a theoretical discussion on how different perception types are hierarchically structured by human language.
The Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE) and The University of Naples Federico II held the 49th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE 2016) in Naples, August 31st- September 3rd, 2016. SLE meetings provided a forum for high-quality linguistic research from all domains of linguistics and attracted the submission of workshop proposals and papers on specialised linguistic areas. The meetings also hosted a round table of experts to discuss various topics of linguistic interest.
This research is commited to lexico-typological study on semantic fields of verbs, which denote the causation of the movement of objects, such as ‘pull’ and ‘push’, on the material of 7 languages. The frame-based approach was chosen as the main methodology for conducting the work. As a result of the work, first, became semantic maps showing how these situations are distributed between lexemes in examined languages. Secondly, the similarities and differences between languages in the semantic zone were described. Thirdly, the parameters were determined, according to which the lexemes of these fields can be contrasted. They are such parameters as: weight and size of object, the purpose of the action, the existence of instrument, and others.
Temperature phenomena are universal, relatively easily perceptible by humans and crucial for them, but their conceptualisation involves a complex interplay between external reality, bodily experience and evaluation of the relevant properties with regard to their functions in the human life. The meanings of temperature terms are, thus, both embodied and perspectival. Rather than reflecting the external world objectively, they offer a naïve picture of it, permeated with folk theories that are based on people’s experience and rooted in their culture (cultural models). Languages differ as to how many temperature terms they have and how these categorize the temperature domain in general Closely related languages can show remarkable differences in their uses of temperature adjectives, even when these are cognates to each other; conversely, temperature systems can show remarkable areal patterns. Temperature terms can belong to different word classes, even within one and the same language (adjectives – ”cold”, verbs – ”to freeze”, nouns – ”coldness”). Languages vary in their word-class attribution of temperature concepts: thus, for instance, many languages lack temperature adjectives. Word-class attribution and, further, lexicalization of temperature expressions and the possible syntactic constructions in which they can be used are sensitive to their semantics.
Temperature meanings are often semantically related to other meanings, either synchronically (within a polysemantic lexeme) or diachronically. Thus, temperature concepts often serve as source domains for various metaphors and are extended to other perceptional modalities (‘hot spices’, ‘warm colour’). Temperature meanings can also develop from others, e.g., ‘burn, fire’ >’hot’, or ’ice’ > ’cold’. Finally, the meanings of temperature terms can also change within the temperature domain itself, e.g. ‘warm, hot’ > ‘lukewarm’, as in Lat. tep- ‘warm’ vs. English tepid ‘lukewarm’. While some languages show extensive semantic derivation from the temperature domain, others lack it or use it to a limited degree. Languages vary as to which temperature term has predominantly positive associations in its extended use (cf. ‘cold’ in Wolof vs. ‘warm’ in the European languages), partly due to the different climatic conditions.
Temperature terms have, on the whole, received relatively little attention. Cross-linguistic research on temperature is mainly restricted to Sutrop (1998, 1999) and Plank (2003), which focus on how many basic temperature terms there are in a language and how they carve up the domain among themselves. There has been no cross-linguistic research on the grammatical behaviour of temperature expressions, apart from a few mentions.
In theoretical semantics, temperature adjectives have mainly figured in discussions of lexical fields, antonymy and linguistic scales (cf. Lehrer 1970, Cruse & Togia 1995, Sutrop 1998, cf. also Clausner & Croft 1999). Koptjevskaja-Tamm & Rakhilina 2006 suggest that linguistic categorization of the temperature domain is sensitive to several parameters, that are important and salient for humans and can be distinguishable by simple procedures relating to the human body. Within the Natural-Semantic Metalanguage, Goddard & Wierzbicka (2006) propose the general formula for describing the language-specific meanings of temperature terms via reference to fire.
Extended uses of temperature words have been studied indirectly in cognitive linguistics, primarily in research on the metaphors underlying emotions, e.g. AFFECTION IS WARMTH (Lakoff & Johnson 1997:50) and ANGER IS HEAT (Kövecses 1995, also Goossens 1998; cf. also Shindo 1998-99). An important question raised in Geeraerts & Grondelaers (1995) is to what degree such extensions reflect universal metaphorical patterns or are based on common cultural traditions. The current empirical evidence for the suggested metaphors is still relatively meagre.
Analysis of Russian prepositions pod ‘under’ and iz-pod ‘from-under’ in temporal constructions
The article examines the relationship between time and space in language on the basis of adjectives denoting high or low speed in Russian and other (mostly Slavic) languages. In physics the notion of speed is defined in terms of time and space (distance per time unit). It is argued, however, that speed in natural language is a primarily temporal concept involving the comparison of the temporal properties of a ‘target situation’ with those of a ‘norm’. Speed terms are shown to develop their own metaphors and metonymies, subsequently becoming connectors and intensifying markers. This argument has important theoretical implications insofar as it demonstrates that the domain of time is less dependent on space than the traditional view might indicate.