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Evolving Nature of the English Language

Studies in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics


Edited By Robert Kiełtyka and Agnieszka Uberman

This volume presents a collection of interdisciplinary papers pertaining to the most thought-provoking problems in the areas of both theoretical and applied linguistics. The contributors focus on contemporary developments in morphological, semantic and pragmatic theorizing. The contributions are also devoted to various aspects of the methodology of teaching English as well as some intricacies of translation.

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Tracing Common-Denominator Semantics: In-Between Substantiated and Spectral Senses (Przemysław Łozowski)


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Przemysław Łozowski

Tracing Common-Denominator Semantics: In-Between Substantiated and Spectral Senses

Abstract: In the article, we set Kleparski’s proposal of complementing “substantiated senses” with “spectral senses”, as applied to examining dog-related metaphors, against a broader background of what we term as common-denominator lexical semantics. Two specific problems are identified: that (i) as long as substantiated senses are calibrated on the common-denominator basis, many interesting contextual readings are left out of consideration (here: dog in Shakespeare), and, that (ii) as long as semantic analyses are based exclusively on idealized dictionary-like substantiated senses, let alone spectral senses, the overall (historical) development of word meanings tends to be unidirectional, which does not reflect the complexity of actual semantic changes and transformations.

Keywords: lexical semantics, semantic change, sense relations, textual evidence, Shakespeare


The main objective behind this contribution is to identify, or rather: uncover, Kleparski’s (this volume) proposal of incorporating what he calls spectral senses “if not in the study of metaphor, than at least in the study of zoometaphor” as one of the latest attempts at pursuing what is termed here as the common-denominator kind of lexical semantics. As the latter may need some explaining, we begin with a little sketch of what we believe this approach to word-meaning actually involves.

Common-denominator lexical semantics

Indeed, the generalization that we would like to start with here is that the methodological strategy behind the so-called sense-relation semantics...

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