Re-thinking synonymy: semantic sameness and similarity in languages and their description

Esitelmien sato:

Section 1:

1. Gorokhova Svetlana: Syntactic overplanning in language production: Evidence from speech errors

- Synonomous syntactic structures with the same content words
-> truth-conditionally equal
- 104 Russian speech errors (slips of the tongue)
- Analysing blends: speech errors when two near-synonyms are selected instead of one target lexeme.
lexical blend: (e.g. flown + driven → flivven) Also phrasal blends.
phrasal blend: (e.g. if you’re not careful + if you don’t watch out → if you’re not watch out)
-> result from parallel planning
- focus of research: syntactic blends: blends of two synonymous syntactic structures with the same set of lemmas.
- parallelism in syntactic planning at the positional level of production
- generating a syntactic structure requires significant processing resources

2. Palolahti Maria: Re-thinking synonymy: a cognitive science perspective

Cognitive definition of synonymy,

- potential usefulness as a theoretical concept in cognitive science,
-translatability (similarity of meaning) across languages.

Section 3

1. Katja Västi: Searching for constructional synonymy: Paraphrasing as a means for creating semantically similar constructions
-Katja Västin aiheena oli rakenteellinen synonymia. Hän tutki verbittömiä rakenteita, joissa ensimmäinen sana on ablatiivissa tai allatiivissa (esim. "Suomelle voitollinen tulos"). Ajatuksena on että tällainen rakenne ei ole elliptinen vaan itsenäinen rakenne.
-suuntautumistapa oli konstruktiokielioppi (Goldberg 1995)
-Data: 500 esimerkkiä molemmista rakenteista, data koostui otsikoista
-Testidata: 2 parafraasitestiä opiskelijoille: tarkoitus oli tehdä rakenteellisia synonyymeja verbittömille, lauseenkaltaisille rakenteille
-verbittömät rakenteet ovat itsenäisiä rakenteita, eivätkä ellipsejä
-Synonymiaa kannattaa ajatella laajemmin kuin pelkästään leksikaalisena käsitteenä

2. Eline Zenner, Dirk Speelman, Dirk Geeraerts: Lexical Variation adn Choice: A usage-based perspective on (semi-)synonymy
- Aiheena oli lainasanojen menestyksen mittaus ja vertailu: onomasiologinen suuntaus anglismien käyttöön hollannissa.
- Mitkä tekijät vaikuttavat lainasanan käyttöön, kun synonyyminen alkuperäinen sana on olemassa?
- Kaksi tapaustutkimusta
- Tutkittavia tekijöitä: alueelliset tekijät (Belgian hollanti vs. Alankomaiden hollanti), rekisteri, lainaamisen ajankohta, lainasanan alkuperäkieli, lainasanan ikä

3. Tuomas Huumo, Kersten Lehismets: Same conceptual content, different construals: On the Postposition/Preposition variation of Finnish path adpositions
- Tutkivat "polkuadpositioiden" (esim. "through", "via", "accross") käyttöä suomenkielessä postpositioina tai prepositioina
- Adpositiot voivat olla spatiaalisia, temporaalisia tai abstrakteja
- Lisäksi ne voivat ilmaista suunnattua liikettä, suuntaamatonta liikettä, sijaintia, esiintymää/tapahtumaa (occurrence) tai prosessia
- Tutkivat, onko näiden käyttö synonyymista
- Väite: postpositiot ja prepositiot erovat sekä tyylillisesti että semanttisesti
- Postpositiot yleisimpiä, joskus vastaavat toisiaan, esim. sillan yli/yli sillan
- Korpustutkimus: Tutkivat Aamulehti-lehdessä 1995-1999 esiintyneitä sanoja "pitkin" ja "läpi"
- Tutkimuksesta totesivat, että näillä on semanttista eroa: esim. prepositiot indikoivat temporaalista ja postpositiot spatiaalista relaatiota

Section 4:

1. Martí Solano Ramón and Raluca Nita: Metaphorical phrasal quantifiers and synonymy in a cross-linguistic perspective

Metaphorical nouns, phrasal quatifiers:
- natural phenomena
- geographical features
- the military

a torrent of, mountains of, buckets of, a barrage of, legions of, a sea of
-> tend to be regarded as synonymous
Two levels of synonomy
1. Broader functional synonomy: all constructions serve the same purpose, namely expressing quantities
2. Narrower conceptual synonomy: metaphorical expressions from the same source domain(s) can be interchangeable.
-> armies of lawyers and legions of lawyers but not *floods of lawyers, or a flood of information

Quantifiers can be interchangeable in discourse only at the second level of synonymy.

Actual uses of these expressions in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish

-> mostly language-independent, but there are combinatory preferences across languages
-> results differ depending on which corpus is used, e.g Google v.s. La Republica.

2. Vilkki, Liisa: The Comparability of similar inferential meanings across languages

Vilkki conducted typological analysis on inferential expressions in 130 different languages to find out how synonymous they are.

3. Wiemer, Björn & Socka, Anna: How to do contrastive semantics with propositional modifiers: The case of hearsay adverbs

Hearsay markers have been claimed to carry epistemic overtones by which the actual speaker transmits his/her doubts into the contents of the message. However, the epistemic overtones can be cancelled in specific contexts.

Section 5

1. Oversteegen, Eleonore: What's in a synonym?

Synonymy was researched using 6 word properties. Three of them are paradigmatic (conceptual properties, register, reading) and the other three are syntagmatic (selection restrictions, telic role, and agentive role).

A set of candidate word pairs was selected, existing of more or less synonymous words. For each word property, a value was attributed to the candidate word pairs, reflecting the degree of similarity of the pair. For each word pair, the combined similarity scores for all word properties was defined as the score on semantic distance.

In addition to the scoring of word pairs, synonymy was researched by asking native speakers to rate word pairs. Judgements of synonymy appeared to be closely linked to the syntagmatic properties of words, with selection restrictions as the most determinative factor. This factor was followed by the syntagmatic properties telic role and agentive role. The paradigmatic properties played a surprisingly modest role.

2. Raukko, Jarno: Evaluating and analyzing semantic similarity and sameness in studies of polysemy and synonymy

Raukko spoke about semantic similarity from two angles. He spoke about semantic similarity regarding possible synonyms (where two different words are compared in a similar context) and regarding possible polysemous words (where identical words are compared in different contexts).

Raukko mentioned that when conducting research on semantic similarity, whether it's about synonymy or polysemy, the same kinds of research methods can be applied. For instance, asking informants to rate similarity on a scale. The sorting test (Informants are given ready-made instances of one word in different contexts, and they are asked to sort these instances into different categories according to semantic similarity and semantic difference.) is easier to apply to polysemy, since it is easy to work on several instances of one word, but in the case of synonymy, the items compared should include several related words in the same context, possibly concentrating on different cases of synonymy in one study, which might distract the focus of attention in the informant.

One question is whether informant behavior in such experimental settings varies according to the object of study. Do different forms suggest to us that there, by default, should be difference in meaning? Do similar forms encourage us to presuppose that there should be similarity or at least relatedness in meaning?

(Tämän sectionin kolmas puhuja oli peruttu.)

Section 6

1. Glynn Dylan: Usage-Based Cognitive Models. Synonymy as an operationalisation of conceptual structure

- concept of LIBERTY in 20C America.
- Time magazine - 250 occurrences of liberty and 250 of freedom
- diachronic dimension of the study will help capture the social variation that is inherent in a Usage-Based Cognitive Model.
- Multiple Correspondence Analysis
- During the 20s, 30, and 40s, liberty is often used when discussing nations,
- 50s and 60s to discussions about society,
- 70s - 2000s to discussions of individual liberty.
- metaphors associated with the lexeme shift in a similar pattern:
first ‘liberty’ is conceptualised as a simple ‘object’ then
toward the end of the century ‘struggle’ or ‘place’.
- need syntax to distinguish between 'liberty' and 'freedom'
- analysis of variance: the most significant and important variation over the 20C is the kind of experiencer to which the lexemes refer.
- importance of the method for the study of cognitive models
permits result verification
adds a usage-based dimension to those results.

Section 7

1. Calude Andreea and Pagel Mark: Selfish Words: what can words in competition tell us about language change?

- Word choices
- What governs the choices we make?
- Techniques from population genetics and evolutionary biology
-> like genes, words come under pressure (that is, biased in some way), rather than being used neutrally under drift.
- Data: spoken records characterising the use of words for everyday items, concepts or events such as “wife”, “chair”
- In all of these cases one or a small number of variants (e.g., “attic”) dominates the distribution, being used far more often than expected by chance given the availability of other forms (such as “garret” or “loft”).
- how language-use evolves within communities and why some variants come to dominate.
- social effects / speaker effects

2. Soares da Silva Augusto: Competitions of synonyms through time: Conceptual and social salience factors and their interrelations

- Two different corpus-based case studies in lexical synonymics of Portuguese.
1. Semantic development of the verb deixar ‘to leave, to let’ from Old to Modern Portuguese and its most competitive synonyms, abandonar ‘to abandon’ (a Gallicism) and permitir ‘to allow, to permit’ (a juridical Latinism).
2. Four dozens of sets of denotational synonymous nouns selected from the lexical fields of football and clothing in European and Brazilian Portuguese in the last 60 years.

Section 9

1. Rakhilina Ekaterina and Tribushinina Elena: On constructional synonymy: disentangling the Russian comparative constructions

- Cross-linguistically comparison usually expressed by a similative construction.
- Russian also has a seemingly synonymous construction where the standard of comparison is marked by the instrumental case
- Hypothesis: the two constructions which are syntactically distinct must also be semantically distinct.
- Test: the distribution of the similative construction and the instrumental-of-comparison construction in the Russian National Corpus (ca. 140 million words).
- Prototypical core of the instrumental-of-comparison construction are descriptions of shape
- Shape: major visual cue to categorization (may be compared to that of numeral classifiers) -> Such cases do not allow a similative in Russian.
- Another crucial property of the instrumental-of-comparison: visualness. The comparee and the standard must be directly observable to the human eye.

2. Nedjalkov Igor: Translation variants as Another Type of Synonymy

- English translation variants (both phrasal and clausal) of Russian fiction written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Mikhail Bulgakov.
- The different translations may be regarded synonymous since they convey one and the same meaning of the original text
- Different English translations of Russian words expressing emotions with special attention to cases when the translation belongs to another part of speech
- English words expressing the same emotive concepts but belonging to different parts of speech can be regarded as either synonymous or quasi-synonymous.

3. Geda Paulsen: Resemblance and variation of causatives expressing social relations

- Estonian and Finnish: ways to encode and conceptualize social dominance.
- dominance and causation between human actors
- synthetic and analytic.
- FI: -ttA ET: -ta
- used in rather similar contexts in these languages
- Causative verbs can have specialized uses where the expressions of social relations and attitudes have important roles.
- Overlapping prototype-based patterns and particular causative constructional patterns in these languages

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