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The semantics of the word 'fairy' in English between 1320 and 1829.

Williams, Noel (1984) The semantics of the word 'fairy' in English between 1320 and 1829. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The study examines the problems of the meaning of words used with fictional reference. It takes one particular class of such words, those used to denote or refer to the supernatural, as a peculiarly problematic set, and one example of these, fairy, as a key example. The study explores all the features of that word's meaning, including denotational, referential, stylistic, emotive and idiosyncratic aspects as well as sense relations and other linguistic relations. It argues that understanding such words occurs through understanding cotextual collocations, and that the meaning of a word such as fairy can only be known, described and explained by examination of such cotext. By computational analysis of a large corpus of texts using fairy a semantic model is built up which on the one hand describes the semantic frame by which fairy is made meaningful and on the other hand the underlying processes and decisions employed by writers (and speakers) in using the word meaningfully. At the same time the study seeks to evaluate the usefulness of rigorous formal approaches to a body of material as complex as that represented by the corpus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Linguistics
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Other academic unit: Department of English Language
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.269903
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 08:51
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 08:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24958

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