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English ‘Joyful’ Vocabulary – Semantic Developments


Angelina Żyśko

The book offers a novel exploration into the semantic development of English terms concerning the concept of ‘joy’ («bliss», «cheer», «delight», «dream», «game», «gladness», «glee», «joy», and «mirth»). The analysis, carried out within the framework of cognitive and historical linguistics, employs the notions of cognitive domains, profiling, and categorisation. The author adopts a panchronic perspective, according to which language reflects the way speakers experience the world. This allows her to provide a new insight into the intrinsic nature of semantic change.

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Chapter 3: Panchrony and English ‘Joy’ Vocabulary


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Chapter 3:   Panchrony and English ‘Joy’ Vocabulary

3.1   Introduction

The conclusions drawn from the previous chapter lead me to present the role of cognitive domains as the motivating parameters behind not only linking a word’s senses together, but also senses of different words. In this chapter I would like to deal with those ‘joy’ vocabulary items that, having entered the English language either in the Old, Middle or Modern English periods, have survived until the present day. Therefore, I will be analysing the paths of the semantic evolution of bliss, cheer, delight, dream, game, gladness, glee, joy and mirth, and will check if all of them have retained the sense of ‘joy’.

In the view of cognitive linguistics, the aim of this chapter is not only to deal with joy as an emotion, and to show the historical semantics of English ‘joy’ vocabulary, but also, or even more so, to seek the motivating mechanisms behind the semantic developments of the lexical items concerned. To be more specific, the analysis of the semantic evolution of English ‘joy’ lexical items is done within the spirit of Langacker’s understanding of cognitive linguistics, as well as Łozowski’s theory of panchrony. Hence, the aim of this book is to show the cognitive mechanisms of the historical semantic change of the English lexical items denoting ‘joy’. The study of English ‘joy’ terminology was started by Fabiszak (2001); however, my aim is to extend the analysis to...

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