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LINGUIST List 25.2284

Fri May 23 2014

Diss: Historical Linguistics, Semantics, Typology: Pattillo: 'Cross-linguistic Metonymies in Human Limb Nomenclature.'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <danutalinguistlist.org>

Date: 22-May-2014
From: Kelsie Pattillo <kelsieuwm.edu>
Subject: Cross-linguistic Metonymies in Human Limb Nomenclature.
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Institution: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2014

Author: Kelsie E. Pattillo

Dissertation Title: Cross-linguistic Metonymies in Human Limb Nomenclature.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Semantics
                            Typology

Dissertation Director:
Garry W. Davis
Edith A. Moravcsik
Fred R. Eckman
Sandra Pucci
Nicholas Fleisher

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is a cross-linguistic lexical study of metonymic change in human limb
nomenclature. The data analyzed for this study make up both synchronic and diachronic
databases. The synchronic data come from a sample of 153 non-Indo-European
languages from 66 language families and are balanced for genetic and areal influence.
The diachronic data are made up of a large collection of Indo-European etymologies. By
comparing the metonymic patterns found in the Indo-European historical data with the
synchronic cross-linguistic data, this dissertation explores to what extent the patterns of
change found in Indo-European are cross-linguistic tendencies. In addition to showing
how etymological data from one language family can help identify cross-linguistic
tendencies, this dissertation also supports the claim that semantic change is regular,
predictable and unidirectional. This serves as a framework for identifying cross-linguistic
lexical tendencies. Along with its contributions to the theoretical discussion of regularity
in lexical change, this dissertation proposes three universal tendencies and a substantial
amount of lexical data that is useful for future cross-linguistic studies.



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