Regularity in Semantic Change


Regularity in Semantic Change

This new and important study of semantic change examines the various ways in which new meanings arise through language use, especially the ways in which speakers and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions. Drawing on extensive research from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history, Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy.


 Reviews:

'How does it come about that linguistic expressions change their meanings over time, or, to be more precise, that speakers start using established linguistic expressions with novel meanings? What is the nature of semantic change, and - more importantly - can we generalize about different instantiations of semantic change not only within individual languages but also cross-linguistically? The book under review, by Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Richard B. Dasher, provides bold answers to such big questions.' Journal of Linguistics

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