Lexical Diachronic Semantic Maps:

Representing and explaining meaning extension

What are semantic maps?

A very short introduction

Some examples

Three common types of semantic maps

Classic semantic maps

Classic semantic maps are two-dimensional graphs with meanings connected by lines. The length of the edge is generally irrelevant, only the graph structure matters.

A semantic map of dative function

(Haspelmath 2003: 213)

Dynamic semantic maps

Dynamic semantic maps are semantic maps with arrows replacing the lines between the meanings. The oriented graph shows the possible pathways of meaning extension for any linguistic item.

A dynamic map of modal necessity

(van der Auwera & Plungian 1998: 95)

Weighted semantic maps

Semantic maps can have weighted-edges; the weight represents the frequency of co-occurrence of meaning pairs in linguistic items. It is usually captured graphically by thicker vs. thinner lines or by different types of lines (solid vs. dotted vs. dashed lines).

A semantic map of person-marking

(Cysouw 2007: 233)