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Title: Polysemy in natural language : case studies on the structural description of polysemous lexemes in English, German and Turkish
Author: Karaman, Burcu Ilkay
ISNI:       0000 0001 3594 8887
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2003
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Meaning seems at once the most obvious and the most obscure aspect of language to be studied. Since most lexical items have several meanings the rules which combine them into sentences will frequently yield several possibilities for interpretation. Potential ambiguity is usually resolved unconsciously in speakers' minds, but may occasionally cause an obstacle in communication, and has therefore been considered a deficiency of language. One of the goals of linguistic research is to illuminate the processes which occur in speakers' minds by studying the organisational structure of concepts and the interrelations between them. The aim of this study is to describe the structural properties of lexical items with multiple meanings, in particular polysemous lexemes, by means of three case studies in English, German and Turkish. The first case study explores paradigmatic sense relations of identity and inclusion (vertical relations). The study involves structural comparison between the nets of each of the senses of a polysemous lexeme in English in contrast with its corresponding forms and senses in German and Turkish. Findings suggest that communicative problems can arise due to intra-domain specific ambiguity. The second case study involves the structural description of a polysemous lexeme in German. Theories of paradigmatic sense relations of opposition and exclusion (horizontal relations) are used to investigate sense opposition at the micro-level which is a specific phenomenon in polysemy. Unlike the first case study, collocational patterns are focused on by looking into syntagmatic sense relations. Results show that theories of sense opposition at the macro-level are applicable to sense opposition at the micro-level. The third case study also deals with the structural description of a polysemous lexeme, this time in Turkish. Besides the description of some disambiguation processes, the study demonstrates that sense opposition at the micro-level exists in Turkish, and that relevant theories are applicable just as in German.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available