The semantic poles of Old English: Toward the 3D representation of complex polysemy

  1. Arista, J.M. 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España


Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

ISSN: 2055-7671

Year of publication: 2018

Volume: 33

Issue: 1

Pages: 96-111

Type: Article

DOI: 10.1093/llc/fqx004 SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-85045039950 GOOGLE SCHOLAR
Institutional repository: lock_openOpen access postprint


This article explains some aspects of the verbal polysemy of Old English by means of the concept of semantic pole, an area of semantic space that represents a core meaning. It draws on the semantic primes of the natural semantic metalanguage, the theoretical constructs of semantic space, and force dynamics as well as semantic maps based on graph theory. In the semantic map, graphs link poles to definiens and lexical nodes, in such a way that the centrality of the poles is indicated, quantitatively, by the number of edges and, qualitatively, by the distance between the pole that exerts the centrifugal force and the pole to which such a force is directed. The conclusion is reached that the semantic poles MOVE, BE, and SAY constitute the core of the verbal lexicon of Old English, considering the semantic space that they occupy and the centrifugal and centripetal forces that produce polysemy originating in these semantic poles. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of EADH. All rights reserved.