KBR Digital Heritage Seminar Series
Justyna Robinson (University of Sussex)
“Concept-led approach to semantic change”
Semantic change is usually discussed from the angles of onomasiology or semasiology. Thus, one may focus on words representing the same meaning as in child, girl, baby meaning ‘young person’ or focus on meanings attached to the same word, as in girl ‘child, young person’ (c1300) versus girl ‘female young person’. These traditional approaches assume that the meaning lies in data that is conceived of in categorical and linear terms.
In this talk I present a perspective on semantic change in terms of paradigmatic relations across a text. I discuss the findings from the Linguistic DNA research project which analysed concepts in discourse of 55,000 Early Modern English books. I present the most recent theoretical and methodological innovations, which include bottom-up modelling of prosodic meaning.