Karlien Franco


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Deconstructing destruction: A Cognitive Linguistics perspective on a computational analysis of diachronic change
Karlien Franco | Mariana Montes | Kris Heylen
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change

In this paper, we aim to introduce a Cognitive Linguistics perspective into a computational analysis of near-synonyms. We focus on a single set of Dutch near-synonyms, vernielen and vernietigen, roughly translated as ‘to destroy’, replicating the analysis from Geeraerts (1997) with distributional models. Our analysis, which tracks the meaning of both words in a corpus of 16th-20th century prose data, shows that both lexical items have undergone semantic change, led by differences in their prototypical semantic core.