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Chaire Internationale 2023 - Athanasios Georgakopoulos -Université Aristote de Thessalonique (Grèce)

Dernière mise à jour : 5 juil. 2023

Nous accueillerons à partir du 15 juin 2023, le professeur Athanasios Georgakopoulos de l'université Aristote de Thessalonique pour une série de quatre séminaires sur le thème "Representing lexical polysemy : from semantic maps to language-specific networks". Les séminaires auront lieu les 15, 22 et 29 juin et le 06 juillet 2023 de 16h à 18h à l'université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Maison de la Recherche - 4, rue des Irlandais 75005 Paris - Salle du Conseil (1er étage).

Les séminaires seront aussi diffusés en direct sur Zoom, à l'adresse suivante :

Résumé général:

This four-part seminar will focus on methods and visual tools for representing polysemy in a single language as well as cross-linguistically from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The topic belongs to a growing strand of research in lexical semantics and lexical typology, which attempts to model semantic connections as well as processes of semantic change across languages, using empirical methods.

1. First seminar: Semantic maps - An overview

The first seminar will give an overview of the semantic maps model, a powerful, theory-neutral, methodological tool for representing meaning connections cross-linguistically (for a recent overview, see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2022). Although the model was originally developed to depict the connections between meanings of grammatical morphemes (e.g., Haspelmath, 1997), it has subsequently extended to capture connections in the lexical domain as well (e.g., François, 2008), and there has been an attempt to combine semantic maps with Construction Grammar more recently (e.g., Georgakopoulos & Nikiforidou, 2022; Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 2022). In the context of this first seminar, I will explain the theoretical premises of the model, present its pros and cons, explore the different types of maps available (i.e., connectivity maps and those generated through multidimensional scaling). Finally, I will highlight the role the method can play in representing meaning relations and discuss the future challenges in this field of research.

Vidéo du premier séminaire :

2. Second seminar: Semantic maps - From theory to practice

During the initial stages of the semantic maps model, maps were primarily hand-crafted. However, over time, effective algorithms were developed that could automatically generate the maps directly from linguistic data (e.g., Croft & Poole, 2008; Regier et al., 2013). In the second seminar, we will retrace the development of these different approaches to map creation, progressing from theory to practice. We will apply the method to data taken from a sample of languages and monitor in a step-by-step fashion the process of constructing semantic maps both manually and automatically. School of English, Faculty of Philosophy Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Vidéo du deuxième séminaire

3. Third seminar: Quantitative approaches to semantic change and to (areal) linguistic typology

The third seminar will be structured into two sections, the first of which will focus on quantitative methods in relation to aspects of meaning change, with a particular emphasis on less-studied semantic fields (e.g. the TEMPORAL domain; see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2021). The second section will discuss quantitative methods that help us detect areal and universal patterns of colexification (see Georgakopoulos et al., 2022). Specifically, I will first highlight the role of semantic maps in representing diachronic change (see, e.g., François, 2022; Narrog, 2010; van der Auwera & Plungian, 1998) and will then show how one can combine a quantitative approach to large-scale synchronic polysemy data with a qualitative evaluation of diachronic materials (see Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2021). Finally, I will demonstrate how different quantitative methods, such as weighted semantic maps, formal concept lattices and dimensionality reduction, can aid us in detecting areal and universal patterns in the semantic domains of PERCEPTION and COGNITION.

Vidéo du troisième séminaire

4. Fourth seminar: The Behavioral profile approach to polysemy

In the fourth seminar, I will look into questions from the domain of lexical semantics that have sparked debate and critical reflection among researchers. In particular, by means of the so-called behavioral profile approach (see, e.g.,Divjak & Gries, 2006; Gries, 2006, 2010; Gries & Divjak, 2009), a well-known quantitative approach in corpus-based lexical semantics, I will argue for an approach to polysemy in which individual meanings are represented as enriched lexical constructions, which include morphological and discourse/pragmatic specifications (see Georgakopoulos et al., 2020). The case studies I will present using data from Ancient and Modern Greek all provide evidence for such enriched gestalts and their indispensability in describing the polysemy of lexemes.


Croft, W., & Poole, K. T. (2008). Inferring universals from grammatical variation: Multidimensional scaling for typological analysis. Theoretical Linguistics, 34(1), 1–37.

Divjak, D., & Gries, S. T. (2006). Ways of trying in Russian: Clustering behavioral profiles. 2(1), 23–60.

François, A. (2008). Semantic maps and the typology of colexification: Intertwining polysemous networks across languages. In M. Vanhove (Ed.), From polysemy to semantic change: Towards a typology of lexical semantic associations (pp. 163–215). John Benjamins.

François, A. (2022). Lexical tectonics: Mapping structural change in patterns of lexification. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 89–123.

Georgakopoulos, T., Grossman, E., Nikolaev, D., & Polis, S. (2022). Universal and macro-areal patterns in the lexicon: A case-study in the perception-cognition domain. Linguistic Typology, 26(2), 439–487.

Georgakopoulos, T., Lincke, E.-S., Nikiforidou, K., & Piata, A. (2020). On the polysemy of motion verbs in Ancient Greek and Coptic: Why lexical constructions are important. Studies in Language, 44(1), 27–69.

Georgakopoulos, T., & Nikiforidou, K. (2022). The contribution of constructions to semantic maps: Evidence from the polysemy of motion verbs. 15th International Conference on Greek Linguistics, University of Belgrade. School of English, Faculty of Philosophy Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2021). Lexical diachronic semantic maps: Mapping the evolution of time-related lexemes. Journal of Historical Linguistics, 11(3), 367–420.

Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2022). New avenues and challenges in semantic map research (with a case study in the semantic field of emotions). Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 1–30.

Gries, S. T. (2006). Corpus-based methods and cognitive semantics: The many senses of to run. In S. T. Gries & A. Stefanowitsch (Eds.), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 57–99). Mouton De Gruyter.

Gries, S. T. (2010). Behavioral profiles: A fine-grained and quantitative approach in corpus-based lexical semantics. The Mental Lexicon, 5(3), 323–346.

Gries, S. T., & Divjak, D. (2009). Behavioral profiles: A corpus-based approach to cognitive semantic analysis. In V. Evans & S. Pourcel (Eds.), New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 57–75). John Benjamins.

Haspelmath, M. (1997). Indefinite pronouns. Oxford University Press.

Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M. (2022). Semantic maps and temperature: Capturing the lexicon-grammar interface across languages. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 125–177.

Narrog, H. (2010). A Diachronic Dimension in Maps of Case Functions. Linguistic Discovery, 8(1).

Regier, T., Khetarpal, N., & Majid, A. (2013). Inferring semantic maps. Linguistic Typology, 17(1), 89–105.

van der Auwera, J., & Plungian, V. A. (1998). Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology, 2(1), 79–124.


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