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Conventional Polysemy in the English Lexeme Boy: Differences and similarities between its polysemously related senses
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The notion of polysemy is defined as multiple meanings in one and the same lexeme. In polysemy, these meanings are different but also related. Conventional polysemy typically means that the meanings of a given lexeme are entrenched, and shared by proficient language users in a speech community. From a cognitive linguistic perspective, different senses of a polysemous lexeme – a polyseme – are explained by means of associations to certain situations, or specific experiential or cognitive domains. From a functional perspective, different senses of a polyseme can be used with various types of meaning in communicative discourse. From a structural perspective, different senses of a polyseme are described in terms of their paradigmatic or syntagmatic relations to other lexemes. These three perspectives are used as analytical methods in this study.

This Bachelor Degree Project is a theoretical study of the conventional polysemous variation of the English lexeme boy. The analysis uses the three aforementioned interrelated analytical perspectives – (i) cognitive domains, (ii) language functions, and (iii) sense relations – to look closer at eight conventional senses of boy that appear at least two of the four well-known, synchronic, monolingual dictionaries that constitute the analytic material of study. These senses are described and analysed as regards their differences and similarities, as well as their relation to the primary sense of boy, ‘a male child’, which is also analysed and described. In other words, this analysis presents their polysemous connections – how they are related as well as how they differ – in a way that explicitly specifies the semantic intuitions that seem to have guided the lexicographers. This kind of theoretically based study could arguably be integrated in and improve also lexicographic presentations of polysemy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Conventional Polysemy, Cognitive Domain, Language Function, Sense Relation, Lexicography, Boy
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88149OAI: diva2:609903
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-03-07 Last updated: 2013-11-07Bibliographically approved

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