Lexico-semantic networks on various levels of resolution – Slides of the lecture
Salle Lumière (Place du 20-Août, 7, 2nd floor – 4000 Liège)
In this talk, I discuss two different approaches to the investigation of lexico-semantic associations by way of semantic networks.
One approach is broad-scale comparative and relies on large lexical databases which contain translational equivalents for predefined meaning labels in a large number of languages. This approach is introduced on the basis of the online resource CLICS (List et al. 2014). CLICS facilitates such research by providing a unified search engine and visualization options of patterns of lexico-semantic association which are present in large lexical databases but which cannot easily be extracted from these databases themselves.
On the other hand, I discuss a different approach that, being restricted to a single language family, is less broad in scope, but instead goes more into depth by paying attention to the linguistic history of that family as well as culture-specific conceptualizations. Using the example of the semantic field of major internal organs of the torso (i.e. the ‘heart’, the ‘stomach’, the ‘kidney’, the ‘liver’, and the ‘lungs’) in the Quechuan language family, I show how engagement with such perspectives allows for a considerably richer understanding of lexical organization in synchrony and diachrony than linguistic data alone could provide.
I conclude that to access and understand different aspects of lexico-semantic associations, we need different and complementary study designs at various levels of resolution.
List, Johann-Mattis, Thomas Mayer, Anselm Terhalle, and Matthias Urban. 2014. CLICS: Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications. Marburg: Forschungszentrum Deutscher Sprachatlas. http://CLICS.lingpy.org
Urban, Matthias. Under review. Quechua terms for internal organs of the torso: synchronic, diachronic, and typological perspectives.