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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3VH5CV89

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The Lexical Semantics of Athapaskan Anatomical Terms: A Historical-Comparative Study Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
historical linguistics
Athapaskan
lexical semantics
classification
dialectometry
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Snoek, Conor
Supervisor and department
Rice, Sally (Linguistics)
Newman, John (Linguistics)
Ives, John W. (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Darin Flynn (Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures)
Gary Holton (Linguistics)
Department
Department of Linguistics
Specialization

Date accepted
2015-09-30T08:54:02Z
Graduation date
2015-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
This dissertation synthesizes theoretical developments in linguistics and anthropology in order to tackle questions in lexical semantics and Athapaskan historical linguistics. This dissertation aims at contributing both to theoretical development of diachronic lexical semantics and to provide solid evidence for the classificatory arrangement of Athapaskan languages. In the case of the former, theoretical work carried out within the school of thought calling itself cognitive linguistics is brought together with an epidemiological approach to mental representations in order to construct a theoretical framework in which semantics can be viewed as a source of information for tracing the historical evolution of languages. The data that are brought to bear on these questions are gathered through the application of the lexicological method known as onomasiology. The method allows for the comparison of a large sample of Athapaskan languages by investigating what semantic, morphological, and phonological means are employed by each language to encode a pre-determined set of onomasiological concepts. The study proceeds by comparing Athapaskan languages on the basis of sets of terms expressing anatomical concepts. These comparisons allow for the construction of etymologies, for the delineation of semantic structures termed lexicalization patterns, and for the characterization of individual languages as aggregates of semantic and phonological data. These aggregate data were evaluated with techniques drawn from dialectometry in order to classify Athapaskan languages. The results of the research add to the the growing body of knowledge on typologies of semantic change and present a dialectometric perspective on grouping among Athapaskan languages.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3VH5CV89
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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