You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Synaesthetic Adjectives: A Possible Law of Semantic Change
Joseph M. Williams
Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1976), pp. 461-478
Published by: Linguistic Society of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/412571
Page Count: 18
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Sense of touch, Semantic change, Olfactory perception, Semantics, Words, Lexemes, Adjectives, Gustatory perception, Voice quality, Somatosensory perception
Were these topics helpful?See something inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
The century-old failure of historical linguistics to discover regularities of semantic change comparable to those in phonological change, as described by Grassmann or Grimm, has forced us to entertain as 'semantic laws' proposals that express mere tendencies, or are so restricted to a particular time, language, or narrow inventory, that the 'law' is indistinguishable from a description of a discrete historical event. But in the lexical field of English adjectives referring to sensory experience, there has been a continuing semantic change so regular, so enduring, and so inclusive that its description may be the strongest generalization in diachronic semantics reported for English or any other language. On the basis of very similar evidence from Indo-European cognates and from Japanese, the possibility exists that the regularity described here might characterize more than just these languages. It qualifies as a testable hypothesis in regard to future semantic change in any language.
Language © 1976 Linguistic Society of America