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ERIC Number: ED348839
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: 0
A Semantic Frame Work Reconstructed from Comparative Linguistics.
Key, Mary Ritchie
A theory of semantics focusing on relationships between meaning and sound patterns in language evolution is proposed. Using cognate sets from traditional comparative studies of closely-related languages in well-defined language families, the theory addresses the use and shifting of language components. The theory begins with the ego attempting to make sense of the environment by naming, organizing both abstract and concrete elements into manageable categories. The first human frame of reference is of body in relation to environment: bodily parts and natural elements. Cognate sets in comparative studies often relate to space and object shapes as seen in space. Primitive morphemes can also be classified by composition; much vocabulary relates to natural elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Certain sounds are basic, unchanging from language to language throughout history; similarly, certain meanings based on primitive elements and needs are stable across time. Proliferation of vocabulary results from derivations of primordial meanings. With societal change, identification of primordial morphemes may be lost. However, studying direction of change in derivational meanings can give insight into human nature and categories, and cognitive processes. In sum, primitive morphemes are particles scattered through the semantic system of a single language and, in time, all derived languages. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Functional Linguistics (13th, Corfu, Greece, August 24-29, 1986). p.211-215.