Linguistic DNA: investigating conceptual change in early modern English discourse

Fitzmaurice, S. M., Robinson, J., Alexander, M. , Hine, I., Mehl, S. and Dallachy, F. (2017) Linguistic DNA: investigating conceptual change in early modern English discourse. Studia Neophilologica, 89(Supl 1), pp. 21-38. (doi: 10.1080/00393274.2017.1333891)

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This article describes the background and premises of the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Linguistic DNA of Modern Western Thought’. We offer an empirical, encyclopaedic approach to historical semantics regarding ‘conceptual history’, i.e. the history of concepts that shape thought, culture and society in a particular period. We relate the project to traditional work in conceptual and semantic history and define our object of study as the discursive concept, a category of meaning encoded linguistically as a cluster of expressions that co-occur in discourse. We describe our principal data source, EEBO-TCP, and introduce our key research interests, namely, the contexts of conceptual change, the semantic structure of lexical fields and the nature of lexicalisation pressure. We outline our computational processes, which build upon the theoretical definition of discursive concepts, to discover the linguistically encoded forms underpinning the discursive concepts we seek to identify in EEBO-TCP. Finally, we share preliminary results via a worked example, exploring the discursive contexts in which paradigmatic terms of key cultural concepts emerge. We consider the extent to which particular genres, discourses and users in the early modern period make paradigms, and examine the extent to which these contexts determine the characteristics of key concepts.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Historical semantics, corpus linguistics, keywords.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fitzmaurice, Professor Susan Mary and Alexander, Professor Marc and Dallachy, Dr Fraser
Authors: Fitzmaurice, S. M., Robinson, J., Alexander, M., Hine, I., Mehl, S., and Dallachy, F.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Studia Neophilologica
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1651-2308
Published Online:14 June 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Studia Neophilologica 89(Supl 1):21-38
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
671731The Linguistic DNA of Modern Thought: Paradigmatic terms in English 1500-1800Marc AlexanderArts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/M00614X/1CRIT - ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS