Meanings of words are constantly changing, and the forces driving this changes are varied and diverse. Linguistic analyses are usually concerned with language-internal processes, while investigations of language-external historical developments tend to disregard linguistic considerations. It is evident, however, that an investigation of diachronic semantics will have to consider both sides: a specific theory of meaning including a proper place for lexical semantics on the one hand, and incorporate knowledge about the world and the social and cultural environment of speakers who use language as a tool for communication on the other.
The collection focuses on meaning change as a topic of interdisciplinary research. Distinguished scholars in diachronic semantics, general linguistics, classical philology, philosophy of language, anthropology and history offer in depth studies of language internal and external factors of meaning change. This broad range of perspectives, unprecedented in research publications of recent years, is a pioneering attempt to mirror the multi-facetted nature of language as a formal, social, cognitive, cultural and historical entity. The contributions, each exploring the research issues, methods and techniques of their particular field, are directed towards a broader audience of interested readers, thus enhancing interdisciplinary exchange.
FROM THE CONTENTS:
Introduction: Historical linguistics as a transdisciplinary field of research REGINE ECKARDT, KLAUS VON HEUSINGER, AND CHRISTOPH SCHWARZE
A. Changing believes, diversifying worlds, and flexible meanings
Words and concepts in time: Towards diachronic cognitive onomasiology
ANDREAS BLANK (†)
The semantic structure of lexical fields: Variation and change
DAVID KRONENFELD AND GABRIELLA RUNDBLAD khalîfa - A word study
DAVID J. WASSERSTEIN
Words in discourse - On the diachronic lexical semantics of discours
B. The meaning of meaning change
Theoretical concepts in flux: Conceptual knowledge and theory change
Meaning change as character change
Meaning change in conceptual Montague semantics
C. The force of grammar
Tense in time: The Greek perfect
EVA-MARIA GERÖ AND ARNIM VON STECHOW
Light verbs in Urdu and grammaticalization
MIRIAM BUTT AND WILHELM GEUDER
Bilingualism and linguistic inference in the Slavic-Romance contact area of Molise (Southern Italy)
Lexical-grammatical variation and development: The use of conjunctions as discourse markers in everyday spoken German
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