scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Journal ArticleDOI

Synaesthetic adjective : A possible law of semantic change

01 Jun 1976-Language-Vol. 52, Iss: 2, pp 461-478
TL;DR: In the lexical field of English adjectives referring to sensory experience, there has been a continuing semantic change so regular, so enduring, and so inclusive that its description may be the strongest generalization in diachronic semantics reported for English or any other language.
Abstract: The century-old failure of historical linguistics to discover regularities of semantic change comparable to those in phonological change, as described by Grassmann or Grimm, has forced us to entertain as 'semantic laws' proposals that express mere tendencies, or are so restricted to a particular time, language, or narrow inventory, that the 'law' is indistinguishable from a description of a discrete historical event. But in the lexical field of English adjectives referring to sensory experience, there has been a continuing semantic change so regular, so enduring, and so inclusive that its description may be the strongest generalization in diachronic semantics reported for English or any other language. On the basis of very similar evidence from IndoEuropean cognates and from Japanese, the possibility exists that the regularity described here might characterize more than just these languages. It qualifies as a testable hypothesis in regard to future semantic change in any language.*

Content maybe subject to copyright    Report

Citations
More filters
Journal Article
TL;DR: Different subtypes of number–colour synaesthesia are identified and it is proposed that they are caused by hyperconnectivity between colour and number areas at different stages in processing; lower synaesthetes may have cross-wiring (or cross-activation) within the fusiform gyrus, whereas higher synaeste may haveCross-activation in the angular gyrus.
Abstract: We investigated grapheme–colour synaesthesia and found that: (1) The induced colours led to perceptual grouping and pop-out, (2) a grapheme rendered invisible through ‘crowding’ or lateral masking induced synaesthetic colours — a form of blindsight — and (3) peripherally presented graphemes did not induce colours even when they were clearly visible. Taken collectively, these and other experiments prove conclusively that synaesthesia is a genuine perceptual phenomenon, not an effect based on memory associations from childhood or on vague metaphorical speech. We identify different subtypes of number–colour synaesthesia and propose that they are caused by hyperconnectivity between colour and number areas at different stages in processing; lower synaesthetes may have cross-wiring (or cross-activation) within the fusiform gyrus, whereas higher synaesthetes may have cross-activation in the angular gyrus. This hyperconnectivity might be caused by a genetic mutation that causes defective pruning of connections between brain maps. The mutation may further be expressed selectively (due to transcription factors) in the fusiform or angular gyri, and this may explain the existence of different forms of synaesthesia. If expressed very diffusely, there may be extensive cross-wiring between brain regions that represent abstract concepts, which would explain the link between creativity, metaphor and synaesthesia (and the higher incidence of synaesthesia among artists and poets). Also, hyperconnectivity between the sensory cortex and amygdala would explain the heightened aversion synaesthetes experience when seeing numbers printed in the ‘wrong’ colour. Lastly, kindling (induced hyperconnectivity in the temporal lobes of temporal lobe epilepsy [TLE] patients) may explain the purported higher incidence of synaesthesia in these patients . We conclude with a synaesthesia-based theory of the evolution of language. Thus, our experiments on synaesthesia and our theoretical framework attempt to link several seemingly unrelated facts about the human mind. Far from being a mere curiosity, synaesthesia may provide a window into perception, thought and language. www.imprint-academic.com/rama copyright © Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, No. 12, 2001, pp. 3–34 Correspondence: Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. 0109, La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, e-mail: vramacha@ucsd.edu

1,299 citations


Cites background from "Synaesthetic adjective : A possible..."

  • ..., ‘loud shirt’) also respect the directionality seen in synaesthesia (Day, 1996; Ullman, 1945; Williams, 1976)....

    [...]

  • ...Furthermore, we have noticed that synaesthetic metaphors (e.g., ‘loud shirt’) also respect the directionality seen in synaesthesia (Day, 1996; Ullman, 1945; Williams, 1976)....

    [...]

Book
01 Jan 2002
TL;DR: In this article, the development of modal verbs with discourse marker function and constructions of performative verbs and social deictics is discussed. But the focus of this paper is not on the semantic change.
Abstract: List of figures Preface and acknowledgements Conventions List of abbreviations 1. The framework 2. Prior and current work on semantic change 3. The development of modal verbs 4. The development of adverbials with discourse marker function 5. The development of performative verbs and constructions 6. The development of social deictics 7. Conclusion Primary references Secondary references Index of languages Index of names Index of subjects.

1,009 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is proposed that grapheme colour synaesthesia arises from 'cross–wiring' between the 'colour centre' (area V4 or V8) and the 'number area', both of which lie in the fusiform gyrus.
Abstract: We studied two otherwise normal, synaesthetic subjects who 'saw' a specific colour every time they saw a specific number or letter. We conducted four experiments in order to show that this was a genuine perceptual experience rather than merely a memory association. (i) The synaesthetically induced colours could lead to perceptual grouping, even though the inducing numerals or letters did not. (ii) Synaesthetically induced colours were not experienced if the graphemes were presented peripherally. (iii) Roman numerals were ineffective: the actual number grapheme was required. (iv) If two graphemes were alternated the induced colours were also seen in alternation. However, colours were no longer experienced if the graphemes were alternated at more than 4 Hz. We propose that grapheme colour synaesthesia arises from 'cross-wiring' between the 'colour centre' (area V4 or V8) and the 'number area', both of which lie in the fusiform gyrus. We also suggest a similar explanation for the representation of metaphors in the brain: hence, the higher incidence of synaesthesia among artists and poets.

385 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The number of studies devoted to the lexicon from a universal or typological point of view is very sparse in comparison to the vast literature dealing with syntax and phonology as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The number of studies devoted to the lexicon from a universal or typological point of view is very sparse in comparison to the — by now — vast literature dealing with syntax and phonology. One exception is the many studies that have followed in the wake of Basic Color Terms (Berlin and Kay 1969). Like this study, lexical studies with a universal aim have in general, it seems, been concerned with the lexicalization patterns within a specific semantic field. Such studies have dealt with fields such as body parts (Andersen 1978), ethnobiological taxonomies (e.g. Berlin 1978), cooking verbs (Lehrer 1974: ch. 8) and verbs of motion (Talmy 1975). Scovel's (1971) comparison of the verbs of perception in five languages is the closest precursor of the present study. From a somewhat different perspective, Dixon (1977) has looked at which fields have the strongest tendency to lexicalize as adjectives.

344 citations


Cites background from "Synaesthetic adjective : A possible..."

  • ...There is, however, another study by Williams (1976), who looked at diachronic change of English adjectives referring to sensory experience....

    [...]

  • ...In an investigation of the historical development of synaesthetic adjectives in English, Williams (1976) found a number of cases where an adjective originally connected to touch extended its meaning to taste (16 cases in all, by far the most common extension in his material)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Sep 2000-Language
TL;DR: This paper showed that the same semantic domain can have its UNIVERSAL and its RELATIVISTIC side, and conclude that there are good social and cultural reasons driving the extension of 'hearing', but not'seeing', to 'know' and 'think' in Australian Aboriginal societies.
Abstract: This article tests earlier claims about the universality of patterns of polysemy and semantic extension in the domain of perception verbs. Utilizing data from a broad range (approx. 60) of Australian languages, we address two hypothesized universals. The first is Viberg's (1984) proposed unidirectional pattern of extension from higher to lower sensory modalities (i.e. INTRAFIELD extensions, like 'see' > 'hear'). The second hypothesized universal is that put forward by Sweetser (1990) regarding the extension of perception verbs to cognition readings (i.e. TRANSFIELD extensions, like 'see' > 'know'). She suggests that vision has primacy as the modality from which verbs of higher intellection, such as 'knowing' and 'thinking', are recruited, and proposes that verbs meaning 'hear' would not take on these readings, although they often extend to mean 'understand' or 'obey'. Though both hypotheses assign primacy to vision among the senses, the results of our Australian study show that Viberg's proposal remains intact, while Sweetser's is proved false. Australian languages recruit verbs of cognition like 'think' and 'know' from 'hear', but not from 'see'. It appears that, at least as far as perception verbs are concerned, transfield semantic changes are subject to greater cultural variability than intrafield semantic changes. We argue that the same semantic domain can have its UNIVERSAL and its RELATIVISTIC side, a foot in nature and a foot in culture, and conclude by demonstrating that there are good social and cultural reasons driving the extension of 'hearing', but not 'seeing', to 'know' and 'think' in Australian Aboriginal societies.

340 citations

References
More filters
Book
01 Jan 1961
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide sources about the books from countries in the world are provided, which is one of the products to see in internet, this website becomes a very available place to look for countless structure of science sources.
Abstract: Following your need to always fulfil the inspiration to obtain everybody is now simple. Connecting to the internet is one of the short cuts to do. There are so many sources that offer and connect us to other world condition. As one of the products to see in internet, this website becomes a very available place to look for countless structure of science sources. Yeah, sources about the books from countries in the world are provided.

2,356 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Apr 1963-Language
TL;DR: In this article, the problem of characterizing the form of semantic theories by describing the structure of a semantic theory of English has been investigated, and it has been shown that the results can be applied to semantic theories of languages unrelated to English and suggest how to proceed with the construction of such theories.
Abstract: JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.. Linguistic Society of America is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Language. 1. Introduction. This paperl does not attempt to present a semantic theory of a natural language, but rather to characterize the form of such a theory. A semantic theory of a natural language is part of a linguistic description of that language. Our problem, on the other hand, is part of the general theory of language, fully on a par with the problem of characterizing the structure of grammars of natural languages. A characterization of the abstract form of a semantic theory is given by a metatheory which answers such questions as these: What is the domain of a semantic theory? What are the descriptive and explanatory goals of a semantic theory? What mechanisms are employed in pursuit of these goals? What are the empirical and methodological constraints upon a semantic theory? The present paper approaches the problem of characterizing the form of semantic theories by describing the structure of a semantic theory of English. There can be little doubt but that the results achieved will apply directly to semantic theories of languages closely related to English. The question of their applicability to semantic theories of more distant languages will be left for subsequent investigations to explore. Nevertheless, the present investigation will provide results that can be applied to semantic theories of languages unrelated to English and suggestions about how to proceed with the construction of such theories. We may put our problem this way: What form should a semantic theory of a natural language take to accommodate in the most revealing way the facts about the semantic structure of that language supplied by descriptive research? This question is of primary importance at the present stage of the development of semantics because semantics suffers not from a dearth of facts about meanings and meaning relations in natural languages, but rather from the lack of an adequate theory to organize, systematize, and generalize these facts. Facts about the semantics of natural languages have been contributed in abundance by many diverse fields, including philosophy, linguistics, philology, and …

1,773 citations

Book
01 Jan 1970
TL;DR: For instance, the non-linguist who has conscientiously tried to keep abreast of developments in linguistic theory may well be ready to give up. as mentioned in this paper argues that transformational grammarians may seem to have developed increasingly narrow interests and, moreover, to have become embroiled in the muddy business of securing their own positions, digging themselves in on a narrow front, that whether they are involved in civil war or are continuing to extend the frontiers of linguistic knowledge is often very unclear-even to themselves.
Abstract: THE NON-LINGUIST who has conscientiously tried to keep abreast of developments in linguistic theory may well be ready to give up. Linguistics, especially transformational grammar, has matured recently at an alarming rate, so that transformational grammarians may seem to have developed increasingly narrow interests and, moreover, to have become so embroiled in the muddy business of securing their own positions, digging themselves in on a narrow front, that whether they are involved in civil war or are continuing to extend the frontiers of linguistic knowledge is often very unclear-even to themselves. I fancy that scarcely a single transformationalist will bother to raise his head as Professor Chafe wings his way overhead firing enthusiastically but erratically in all directions. The outsider is much more likely to notice the high-flier, and he needs some help in assessing the significance of Chafe's sally-perhaps it would not be out of place to give him at the same time some reports from the transformational trenches, and to assure him that all is still well there. I shall assume that he is reasonably familiar with Chomsky's Syntactic Structures1 and the main developments in transformational grammar up to about 1965, when Chomsky published his Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.2 Not that I believe the college English teacher has any (narrow professional) reason to bother much about contemporary linguistics. On the contrary, recent developments in transformational grammar should make it perfectly clear that there is no hope whatever of making direct use of that approach to linguistics in English teaching-at any rate not along the lines of existing attempts. And Chafe's work seems even less relevant.

766 citations

Book
01 Jan 1971

735 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Oct 1955-Language

597 citations