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Re: Polysemy

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 17:22
On 6/12/07, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote:

> 1. What are the most polysemous** words in English?
As for verbs, I suspect that "go" is right up there among the most polysemous, as taliesin suggested. Probably several prepositions would be high on the list too -- e.g. "of", "on", "in".
> 2. Where can I find a list of the average polysemy per word of the > most common (i.e. non technical/jargon) words across many languages?
I suspect it would be hard to automatte that kind of study. You'd need electronically tractable dictionaries of many languages, and probably you would need to write a separate script for each dictionary to get the average definitions per word.
> 3. What is the average polysemy in YOUR languages? Any comments on why > etc etc open question?
In gzb there is little polysemy of the "multiple completely unrelated meanings" kind. But many words have a very broad meaning that would translate into other languages with a number of different words in diffferent contexts. For instance "du" very broadly means "section" or "part" - it can mean a chapter of a book, a room of a house, a lane of a road, etc. In a few cases a word has an archaic, deprecated sense that is unrelated or distantly related to its current sense; or the lexicon notes that a word may have variant forms (which is just me making a record of my own usage errors, for future reference), one of which may be identical to the primary form of another word. -- Jim Henry