Colour and semantic change: a corpus-based comparison of English green and Polish zielony

Warth-Szczyglowska, Magdalena Malgorzata (2014) Colour and semantic change: a corpus-based comparison of English green and Polish zielony. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The purpose of my research is to investigate the processes and mechanisms of semantic change in two basic colour terms: green in English and zielony in Polish. My research methodology focuses on existing English and Polish corpora, namely the British National Corpus, the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the National Corpus of Polish. I analyze my data both synchronically and diachronically (comparing two periods of time: 1985-1994, 2001-2010). My study also evaluates the use of corpus evidence for the purpose of investigating the processes of semantic change. Various factors have caused the Basic Colour Terms (BCTs) green and zielony to form metaphorical and metonymical meanings that have been conventionalised in English and Polish respectively. These processes have long played an important role in our understanding of the surrounding world. Investigating semantic changes in these two colour terms and two periods of time is key to my cross-cultural research, and this entails answering the questions: Why do green and zielony develop different senses? What are the similarities and differences between these two colour terms? How have these two terms developed and might they develop new senses in future? Are metonymy and metaphor the only mechanisms of semantic change in green and zielony? The semantic change of each colour term is shown through a network of meanings, where all the different meanings of green and zielony are presented together with their stages of development in the form of codes. Additionally each stage is a separate prototype. The aim of the network is to show the etymological prototype and various senses (new prototypes) developing from this original sense. Moreover the number of occurrences of each prototype might indicate which meaning or meanings are most common or even central in a given language at a certain point in time. The network of meanings is a visual representation of semantic change and processes involved in it. A very detailed analysis of corpus examples provides an insight into the uses of green and zielony in English and Polish respectively. The data are analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Such an approach offers a thorough analysis of the two terms in question.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Basic Colour Terms (BCTs), blending, colour semantics, corpus–based study, cross–cultural study, diachronic, English, meaning networks, metaphor, metonymy, Polish, polysemy, prototype, qualitative, quantitative, semantic change, synchronic
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Hough, Professor Carole and Anderson, Dr. Wendy
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Dr Magdalena Warth-Szczyglowska
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5690
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2014 11:43
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2014 12:01
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5690

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