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ERIC Number: ED522196
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-2381-7
The Polysemy of an "Empty" Prefix: A Corpus-Based Cognitive Semantic Analysis of the Russian Verbal Prefix po-
LeBlanc, Nicholas Lance
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This dissertation proposes a structured semantic account of the polysemous Russian verbal prefix "po-" within the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics and using corpus linguistic methods. While scholarly consensus identifies five meanings for "po-" and an additional meaning in conjunction with the suffix--"yva"--, the relationships among these six meanings have not been fully explored. By means of a corpus-linguistic analysis I determine the semantic structure linking the various meanings of "po-"; I collect a randomly selected sample of "po-" prefixed verbs (with accompanying contexts) from the Russian National Corpus, the largest annotated Russian language corpus extant. The collected data is manually tagged for a number of collocational, syntactic, and semantic parameters to create a behavioral profile of "po-". The behavioral profile is subjected to a hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis, resulting in a dendrogram that illustrates varying degrees of connection among meanings. Meanings are grouped into clusters based on degree of similarity, and the intra- and inter-cluster differences are investigated by use of "z"-scores and "t"-values. I then apply cognitive linguistic concepts to motivate the semantic structure of "po-", showing how this account both echoes and expands previous work on prefixal semantics. I conclude that the meanings of "po-" can be grouped into two clusters: Cluster one is comprised of the attenuative, delimitative, ingressive, and resultative meanings. Cluster two contains the more peripheral distributive and intermittent-attenuative meanings. The resultative meaning is prototypical and indicates that the subject has traversed the metaphoric path implied by the base verb in its entirety. The remaining meanings are metaphoric and metonymic extensions of that central meaning. This view of the semantics of "po-" coincides with what is known about the historical development of the prefix. The contributions of this dissertation are twofold: First, I have produced a cognitively-motivated description of the semantic structure of "po-" based on empirical data. Secondly, this analysis suggests that quantitative methods are useful not only in the study of lexemes and grammatical constructions, but also in prefixal semantics. In addition, I point out large groups of "po-" prefixed verbs largely untouched by the scholarly literature that deserve further study. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A