O2: To extend the method so as to also include information about the cognitive and cultural factors behind the development of the various meanings.
“Le Diasema” is based on both synchronic and diachronic data. We take as a point of departure semantic networks inferred from synchronic polysemy data in large language samples, such as Youn et al. (2016), CLICS (List et al., 2014), WordNet (Princeton University, 2010), and the Open Multilingual Wordnet. In a second step, we identify the lexemes that lexicalize meanings associated with various lexical domains, e.g. the temporal domain, in Ancient Greek (8th – 1st c. BC) and Ancient Egyptian (26th c. BC – 10th c. AD), two languages with significant diachronic material. Based on this diachronic material we describe the various semantic extensions and map them onto the synchronic polysemy networks. Using dynamic semantic maps, we then compare the observed extensions in the two languages in order to identify shared cognitive motivations and to assess the potential impact of cultural factors on the evolution of the various lexical fields in both languages. “Le Diasema” will provide answers to the question of the directionality of change in the lexicon of Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian. However, our expectation is that by looking at diachrony in this fashion, significant dimensions of directionality of change with cross-linguistic extensions can be revealed, and in that way inform us about the basic nature of language and its evolution.