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Re: Polysemy

From:Sai Emrys <sai@...>
Date:Friday, June 15, 2007, 21:33
On 6/13/07, taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...> wrote:
> Others have suggested getting a dictionary and counting, I > suggest you start with counting the meanings of "go" (the verb).
That's one of the gray cases IMO - go, get, be, etc where they're kindasorta helping verbs and it gets just weird, rather than them being clearly strongly contentful. And yeah I could get a dictionary and count, but the point of asking was that hopefully someone's done that boring part already. :-)
> However, AFMCL there are words which I call "bagwords",
> * are polysemous in such a way that you shouldn't pick one > meaning when encountering the word, but all of them, > simultaneously.
Interesting variant. E.g. please? On 6/13/07, Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...> wrote:
> I think most of us Anglophones interpret that as more than one word > ("a couple/three"). It's short for something like "a couple or > three".
Hm. For me it's one word that still parses as short for "a couple or three". :-P
> Can I just ask how you pronounce "polysemy" and "polysemous"?
I normally pronounce it p@l Is' 3 mi" (iirc xsampa right).
> But OK, polysemy is a subset of homophony/homonymy, > confined to words which have diverged in meaning from a single > original concept, versus merely having evolved to sound/be spelled > like a totally unrelated word. Got it. Let's see.
I mean both, though primarily the former as more interesting from a cognitive perspective (a la "Women, Fire, & Dangerous Things") I agree with all the posters so far that it's probably true that the "simplest" words - go, get, up, [insert preposition here], [insert helping verb here], etc are most frequently very polysemous. But somehow that feels ... not quite what I was looking for (though they're certainly interesting & diverse). I'd like the more obvious kind of polysemy one gets with a word like "spirit" (ghost, alcohol, passion, disappear (trans.), quickly, etc). I'm not overly concerned with etymologies, though it's better when you can (somewhat laboriously) trace a path to a common ancestor-idea - again, WF&DT and the other examples in that book come to mind - but the "accidental" sort where phonology evolutions collide is of interest as well. Also better if the resulting meanings are (to an offhand look) wildly divergent - again as in 'spirit', "ghost" and "alchohol" seem nearly unrelated, "disappear (trans.)" takes a bit to link up to "ghost", etc. Hopefully that makes my question a bit clearer. :-) Thanks, - Sai


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>