Université de Neuchâtel

Meaning change in a petri dish: constructions, semantic vector spaces, and motion charts

Hilpert, Martin ; Perek, Florent

In: Linguistics Vanguard, 2015, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 339-350

This paper explores how the visualization tool of motion charts can be used for the analysis of meaning change in linguistic constructions. In previous work, linguistic motion charts have been used to represent diachronic frequency trends and changes in the morphosyntactic behavior of linguistic units. The present paper builds on that work, but it shifts the focus to the study of semantic change....

Université de Neuchâtel

Change in modal meanings: Another look at the shifting collocates of may

Hilpert, Martin

In: Constructions and Frames, 2016, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 66-85

This paper discusses how modal auxiliaries fit into a constructional view of language and how this view allows us to think in new ways about diachronic meaning change in modal auxiliaries. These issues will be illustrated on the basis of a diachronic corpus-based study of the modal auxiliary may, specifically on changes in its collocational preferences during the past 200 years. The main...

Université de Neuchâtel

Why are grammatical elements more evenly dispersed than lexical elements? Assessing the roles of text frequency and semantic generality

Hilpert, Martin ; Correia Saavedra, David

In: Corpora, 2017, vol. 12, no. 3, p. 369-392

Grammatical elements such as determiners, conjunctions or pronouns are very evenly dispersed across natural language data. By contrast, the uses of lexical elements have a stronger tendency to occur in bursts that are interspersed by long lulls. This paper considers two alternative explanations for this difference. First, it could be hypothesised that the more even distribution of grammatical...

Université de Neuchâtel

The unidirectionality of semantic changes in grammaticalization: an experimental approach to the asymmetric priming hypothesis

Hilpert, Martin ; Correia Saavedra, David

In: English Language & Linguistics, 2018, vol. 22, no. 3, p. 357-380

Why is semantic change in grammaticalization typically unidirectional? It is a well-established finding that in grammaticalizing constructions, more concrete meanings tend to evolve into more schematic meanings. Jäger & Rosenbach (2008) appeal to the psychological phenomenon of asymmetric priming in order to explain this tendency. This article aims to evaluate their proposal on the basis of...

Université de Neuchâtel

Using token-based semantic vector spaces for corpus-linguistic analyses: From practical applications to tests of theoretical claims

Hilpert, Martin ; Correia Saavedra, David

In: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 2017, p. 1-32

This paper presents token-based semantic vector spaces as a tool that can be applied in corpus-linguistic analyses such as word sense comparisons, comparisons of synonymous lexical items, and matching of concordance lines with a given text. We demonstrate how token-based semantic vector spaces are created, and we illustrate the kinds of result that can be obtained with this approach. Our main...