LINGUIST List 14.1280

Tue May 6 2003

Diss: Historical/Socioling: Tissari "LOVEscapes..."

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. heli.tissari, LOVEscapes: Changes in prototypical senses...

Message 1: LOVEscapes: Changes in prototypical senses...

Date: Fri, 02 May 2003 09:42:17 +0000
From: heli.tissari <>
Subject: LOVEscapes: Changes in prototypical senses...

Institution: University of Helsinki
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Heli Tissari 

Dissertation Title: LOVEscapes: Changes in prototypical senses and
cognitive metaphors since 1500

Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics

Subject Language: English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Terttu Nevalainen
Dissertation Director 2: Matti Rissanen

Dissertation Abstract: Changes in the meaning of love

The history of the English words for love attests to changes in
sentiments. This thesis focuses on Early Modern (ca 1500-1700) and
Present-Day English (ca 1960), asking whether people associated
similar relationships with love in both periods and whether they used
similar metaphors for love. The data comes from computerised
collections of texts and from a historical thesaurus.

Love in society, love in the mind 

The study suggests a way of examining the effects which changes in
society exert on language. The theoretical toolkit contains two major
instruments: the idea of linguistic prototypes and the theory of
cognitive metaphors. Although these theories prove quite helpful, it
is pointed out that they inspire more questions than they answer. The
big question is what linguists know about the mind.

Is it all about body and commerce?

The study suggests that Present-Day English words for love are
associated more often with sexuality and less often with duty or God
than their Early Modern counterparts. This result is corroborated by
the study of the cognitive metaphors occurring with the word
LOVE. However, there are various kinds of love, all of which can be
discussed in terms of metaphors. Moreover, while it has previously
been emphasised that the metaphor LOVE IS A UNITY is at the centre of
the concept of love, metaphors discussing love in terms of AN ECONOMIC
EXCHANGE are the most frequent in the data.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue