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Title:"Paper Has Been My Ruin": On the Organization of Polysemous Senses
Author(s):Klein, Devorah Emily
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Murphy, Gregory L.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:Previous research (Klein & Murphy) has suggested that multiple senses of polysemous words might be represented separately. This thesis examined how these diverse senses might be organized, by using categorization research to examine the problem of polysemy. Categorization paradigms such as forced-choice sorting (in the first 5 experiments) and induction (in the final experiment) were used to assess whether the polysemous senses are related and what forms those relations might take. Experiment 1 showed that people do not readily see connections between the different senses of polysemous words. However, they do see connections between phrases using the same sense of a polysemous word, as was shown in Experiment 2. Experiment 3 compared polysemous sorting to a baseline of homonyms, whose meanings are unrelated, and showed that people see more connections between the different polysemous senses than between the different homonym meanings. Experiments 4 and 5 looked at whether there are relations between the different polysemous senses that are primable, and found no evidence for this. Finally, Experiment 6 used an induction task to examine whether the relative closeness of polysemous senses as compared to homonyms might also be found in a category use task. Subjects did in fact make stronger inferences to the different sense polysemous items than to the different meaning homonym ones. These results as a whole support the view that polysemous senses are relatively separate. In addition, they demonstrate that while the senses are semantically similar, they may not be connected through explicit relational links. The data seem to be consistent with a feature-overlap model of lexical ambiguity (Kawamoto, 1993) and with extensional approaches to categorization (Lakoff, 1987; Malt, Sloman, Gennari, Shi & Wang, 1999). A greater understanding of how the different senses of polysemous words are connected and what information about the connections is represented constrains both models of polysemous words as well as can inform general models of words meaning.
Issue Date:2000
Description:95 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9990046
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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