Edited By Małgorzata Fabiszak, Karolina Krawczak and Katarzyna Rokoszewska
On the Polysemy of the Lexical Item Europe: An Approach from Access Semantics
This paper argues for the polysemous nature of the lexical item Europe as manifest in the Guardian press discourse. Specifically, analyzing a thousand occurrences of the lexical item Europe and its various conceptions, that is, utterance-level units of meaning, the paper demonstrates that the lexical item Europe exhibits conceptual polysemy as defined within the Lexical Concepts and Cognitive Models (LCCM) Theory, a theory of lexical representation and semantic composition developed by Evans (2006, 2009, 2013).
Traditionally, polysemy has been described and defined as a situation in which a linguistic vehicle is associated with a set of semantically related senses (or meanings). The phenomenon of polysemy has always engendered much controversy predominantly among semanticists of different persuasions as it is one of the most fundamental features of human language, most notably of the lexicon. Interestingly, polysemy has also received a lot of attention in other disciplines, such as psycholinguistics, computational linguistics but also in psychology or Artificial Intelligence. The study of polysemy has received relatively little attention in the structuralist and the generative paradigms as it posed some fundamental problems for the study of meaning in both approaches, and hence it gave way to the phenomena of monosemy and homonymy (cf. Cuyckens & Zawada 1997). Only with the advent of the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm and its prototype-based approach to categorization did the study of polysemy gain new impetus. It has also turned out that the phenomenon of polysemy is easily accommodated within the...
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