LINGUIST List 12.1947

Wed Aug 1 2001

Qs: Semantic Narrowing in Borrowing, IE Theses

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  1. Patrick McConvell, Semantic narrowing in borrowing
  2. Li Baoli, Thesis about Information Extraction

Message 1: Semantic narrowing in borrowing

Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 14:23:01 +1000
From: Patrick McConvell <>
Subject: Semantic narrowing in borrowing

I am enquiring about the phenomenon whereby only a certain sense of a 
diffused lexical item is borrowed into another language, corresponding 
usually to a 'new' sense or concept in the recipient language, often 
dependent on the context of borrowing. This seemed to people I have 
discussed it with a well-known phenomenon with a basis in common sense, and 
we could think of examples without trouble, but I have not been able to 
find references to it in the literature as a principle of semantic change. 
A couple of examples from Australian Aboriginal languages that I work on 
would include:
(1) borrowing of an item polysemous between 'throw' and 'spin (string)' 
only in the second sense, probably in the context of a new spinning 
technique arriving;
(2) an item meaning 'large group (of anything)' being borrowed into another 
language only in the sense of 'herd of cattle' when borrowed in the context 
of the cattle industry. The latter is more a matter of pragmatic narrowing 
than loss of polysemy, but the same broad principle seems to be at work.
These are exotic examples from small languages - no doubt there are many in 
English and other more widely known languages. More than examples though I 
am interested in whether anybody has named or analysed this phenomenon.

Patrick McConvell
Research Fellow, Language and Society
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
GPO Box 553, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
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Message 2: Thesis about Information Extraction

Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 16:12:46 +0800
From: Li Baoli <>
Subject: Thesis about Information Extraction

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

 I am a doctoral student at Peking University, and now mainly doing
research on Information Extraction. I'd like to know exactly how many Ph.D.
theses or Master theses dealing with IE have been finished till now. If you
know some theses about this topic or you are just the author of such one
thesis, would you please tell me the detailed information about the theses,
such as author's name, thesis title, university name, published year, in
what language, and whether it is available on WWW? If so, I would appreciate
it very much. Thanks in advance.

 In addition, if possible, please give your opinion about what are the
future directions in IE research.

 I will post a summary about these issues in the near future.

 Thanks for your attention and best regards to all of you,


 Li Baoli

- ------------------------------------------------
Li Baoli
Institute of Computational Linguistic
Department of Computer Science and Technology
Peking University
Beijing, 100871 Phone: 86-10-62765835(Lab)
P.R. China Email:
- ------------------------------------------------
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