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What is Universal and what is Language-specific in the Polysemy of Perception Verbs?

Publication: Revue roumaine de linguistique, LVIII (3), p. 329-343
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:A major focus in contemporary lexical semantics has been accounting for polysemy and semantic flexibility. The paper intends to present, from a cognitive linguistic perspective, the polysemous meanings of prototypical verbs from the semantic field of perception in English, French and Romanian. The present approach not only highlights similarities and differences between the perception verbs in the three languages, but also attempts to find an explanation for them. With this aim in view, we use the distinction between ‘conceptual polysemy’ and ‘gradual polysemy’. The former type refers to the conceptual mappings that take place between different domains of experience and is universal because the bodily basis of the semantic extensions of perception verbs is shared by and common to all humans within the same cultural background. The latter type is actually the overt realization of conceptual polysemy and can be language-specific, i.e. the semantic content of lexical items varies in different languages.
Key words:bodily basis, property selection processes, metaphor, conceptual polysemy, gradable polysemy, verb-driven extensions, argument- driven extensions, unpredictable polysemy
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 1

References in this publication: 1

6Irina Nicula ParaschivModalități de exprimare a percepțiilor fizice
Verbele de percepţie în limba română
Editura Universității din București2012

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