Journal Article

Lexical meaning and spatial distribution. Evidence from geostatistical dialectometry

Simon Pickl

in Literary and Linguistic Computing

Published on behalf of ALLC: The European Association for Digital Humanities

Volume 28, issue 1, pages 63-81
Published in print April 2013 | ISSN: 0268-1145
Published online January 2013 | e-ISSN: 1477-4615 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqs050
Lexical meaning and spatial distribution. Evidence from geostatistical dialectometry

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  • Language Teaching and Learning
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The relation between the semantic meaning of a lexical variable and the spatial distribution of its variants has been a common field of interest in traditional German dialectology throughout the past century. In the literature in question, several claims regarding the nature of this relation can be found that identify certain semantic properties with spatial distribution patterns. These assumptions are the result of observations the authors made through the qualitative study of their data. Whether these findings can be substantiated in a quantitative analysis, however, has not yet been tested. Neither has a systematic explanatory framework that accounts for these postulated relations been devised. This article investigates these issues by using methods from geostatistical dialectometry that allow certain distributional characteristics of linguistic variables to be quantified. The indices obtained in this way are then tested against the relevance of subject areas. Building on the results, an explanatory framework for their interpretation with respect to basic mechanisms of language variation and change in space is introduced.

Journal Article.  9018 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning ; Computational Linguistics ; Bibliography ; Digital Lifestyle ; Information and Communication Technologies

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