Prototype theory makes a crucial distinction between the central and peripheral sense of words. Geeraerts explores the implications of this model for a theory of semantic change, in the first full-scale treatment of the impact of the most recent developments in lexicological theory on the study of meaning change. He identifies structural features of the development of word meanings which follow from a prototype-theoretical model of semantic structure, and
incorporates these diachronic prototypicality effects into a theory of meaning change. The author strikes a balance between theoretical exploration and diachronic description, supporting
each step in the argumentation with detailed case studies which chart the semantic development of particular words, or illustrate specific mechanisms of semantic change. Thus the book provides both a theoretical model for diachronic semantics and a number of methodological strategies and representational formats that exemplify how changes of word meaning can be studied in practice.
`an important contribution to historical semantics ... The chapters of this book are mainly based on earlier publications of the author, the materials are, however, combined in such a fashion as to produce a new, coherent whole. ... Geeraerts presents historical semantics as an exciting field where there is much interesting work to do. He raises many important questions ... and he provides very useful empirical analyses.'
Prof Dr Gerd Fritz, Lexicology
`A well written and useful book. Rigorous studies of how lexical meaning changes over time, such as Geeraerts's, are exactly what are needed to shed light on this essential problem.'
William Frawley, Dictionaries - Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
Series: Oxford Studies in Lexicography & Lexicology
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st April 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.4