From June 15, 2023, we will be welcoming Professor Athanasios Georgakopoulos from the Aristotle University of Thessalonica for a series of four seminars on the theme of "Representing lexical polysemy : from semantic maps to language-specific networks". The seminars will take place on June 15, 22 and 29 and on July 06, 2023 from 4pm to 6pm at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. - Maison de la Recherche - 4, rue des Irlandais 75005 Paris - Salle du Conseil (1er étage).
The seminars will be broadcast on Zoom. Please follow this link to see each seminar :
This four-part seminar will focus on methods and visual tools for representing polysemy in a single language as well as cross-linguistically from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The topic belongs to a growing strand of research in lexical semantics and lexical typology, which attempts to model semantic connections as well as processes of semantic change across languages, using empirical methods.
1. First seminar: Semantic maps - An overview
The first seminar will give an overview of the semantic maps model, a powerful, theory-neutral, methodological tool for representing meaning connections cross-linguistically (for a recent overview, see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2022). Although the model was originally developed to depict the connections between meanings of grammatical morphemes (e.g., Haspelmath, 1997), it has subsequently extended to capture connections in the lexical domain as well (e.g., François, 2008), and there has been an attempt to combine semantic maps with Construction Grammar more recently (e.g., Georgakopoulos & Nikiforidou, 2022; Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 2022). In the context of this first seminar, I will explain the theoretical premises of the model, present its pros and cons, explore the different types of maps available (i.e., connectivity maps and those generated through multidimensional scaling). Finally, I will highlight the role the method can play in representing meaning relations and discuss the future challenges in this field of research.
First seminar video
2. Second seminar: Semantic maps - From theory to practice
During the initial stages of the semantic maps model, maps were primarily hand-crafted. However, over time, effective algorithms were developed that could automatically generate the maps directly from linguistic data (e.g., Croft & Poole, 2008; Regier et al., 2013). In the second seminar, we will retrace the development of these different approaches to map creation, progressing from theory to practice. We will apply the method to data taken from a sample of languages and monitor in a step-by-step fashion the process of constructing semantic maps both manually and automatically. School of English, Faculty of Philosophy Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Second seminar video
3. Third seminar: Quantitative approaches to semantic change and to (areal) linguistic typology
The third seminar will be structured into two sections, the first of which will focus on quantitative methods in relation to aspects of meaning change, with a particular emphasis on less-studied semantic fields (e.g. the TEMPORAL domain; see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2021). The second section will discuss quantitative methods that help us detect areal and universal patterns of colexification (see Georgakopoulos et al., 2022). Specifically, I will first highlight the role of semantic maps in representing diachronic change (see, e.g., François, 2022; Narrog, 2010; van der Auwera & Plungian, 1998) and will then show how one can combine a quantitative approach to large-scale synchronic polysemy data with a qualitative evaluation of diachronic materials (see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2021). Finally, I will demonstrate how different quantitative methods, such as weighted semantic maps, formal concept lattices and dimensionality reduction, can aid us in detecting areal and universal patterns in the semantic domains of PERCEPTION and COGNITION.
Third seminar video
4. Fourth seminar: The Behavioral profile approach to polysemy
In the fourth seminar, I will look into questions from the domain of lexical semantics that have sparked debate and critical reflection among researchers. In particular, by means of the so-called behavioral profile approach (see, e.g.,Divjak & Gries, 2006; Gries, 2006, 2010; Gries & Divjak, 2009), a well-known quantitative approach in corpus-based lexical semantics, I will argue for an approach to polysemy in which individual meanings are represented as enriched lexical constructions, which include morphological and discourse/pragmatic specifications (see Georgakopoulos et al., 2020). The case studies I will present using data from Ancient and Modern Greek all provide evidence for such enriched gestalts and their indispensability in describing the polysemy of lexemes.
Croft, W., & Poole, K. T. (2008). Inferring universals from grammatical variation: Multidimensional scaling for typological analysis. Theoretical Linguistics, 34(1), 1–37. https://doi.org/10.1515/THLI.2008.001
Divjak, D., & Gries, S. T. (2006). Ways of trying in Russian: Clustering behavioral profiles. 2(1), 23–60. https://doi.org/10.1515/CLLT.2006.002
François, A. (2008). Semantic maps and the typology of colexification: Intertwining polysemous networks across languages. In M. Vanhove (Ed.), From polysemy to semantic change: Towards a typology of lexical semantic associations (pp. 163–215). John Benjamins.
François, A. (2022). Lexical tectonics: Mapping structural change in patterns of lexification. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 89–123. https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2021-2041
Georgakopoulos, T., Grossman, E., Nikolaev, D., & Polis, S. (2022). Universal and macro-areal patterns in the lexicon: A case-study in the perception-cognition domain. Linguistic Typology, 26(2), 439–487. https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2021-2088
Georgakopoulos, T., Lincke, E.-S., Nikiforidou, K., & Piata, A. (2020). On the polysemy of motion verbs in Ancient Greek and Coptic: Why lexical constructions are important. Studies in Language, 44(1), 27–69.
Georgakopoulos, T., & Nikiforidou, K. (2022). The contribution of constructions to semantic maps: Evidence from the polysemy of motion verbs. 15th International Conference on Greek Linguistics, University of Belgrade. School of English, Faculty of Philosophy Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2021). Lexical diachronic semantic maps: Mapping the evolution of time-related lexemes. Journal of Historical Linguistics, 11(3), 367–420.
Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2022). New avenues and challenges in semantic map research (with a case study in the semantic field of emotions). Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2021-2039
Gries, S. T. (2006). Corpus-based methods and cognitive semantics: The many senses of to run. In S. T. Gries & A. Stefanowitsch (Eds.), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 57–99). Mouton De Gruyter.
Gries, S. T. (2010). Behavioral profiles: A fine-grained and quantitative approach in corpus-based lexical semantics. The Mental Lexicon, 5(3), 323–346.
Gries, S. T., & Divjak, D. (2009). Behavioral profiles: A corpus-based approach to cognitive semantic analysis. In V. Evans & S. Pourcel (Eds.), New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 57–75). John Benjamins. https://benjamins.com/catalog/hcp.24.07gri
Haspelmath, M. (1997). Indefinite pronouns. Oxford University Press.
Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M. (2022). Semantic maps and temperature: Capturing the lexicon-grammar interface across languages. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 125–177. https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2021-2042
Narrog, H. (2010). A Diachronic Dimension in Maps of Case Functions. Linguistic Discovery, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.352
Regier, T., Khetarpal, N., & Majid, A. (2013). Inferring semantic maps. Linguistic Typology, 17(1), 89–105. https://doi.org/10.1515/lity-2013-0003
van der Auwera, J., & Plungian, V. A. (1998). Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology, 2(1), 79–124.