S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 38 Number 1/4 (2002)
Semantic Changes of English Preposition against: A Grammaticalization Perspective
- Rhee, Seongha
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.38 No.2, pp. 563-583
- This paper describes semantic changes of English preposition against that occurred in the course of its grammaticalization. Based on semantic designations provided in Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.; 1991), this paper shows how particular meanings of the word evolved. Four major mechanisms of semantic change are invoked here to explain such semantic changes, i.e., metaphor, generalization, subjectification, and frame-of-focus variation. Metaphorical transfer extends formerly concrete meanings that made reference to physical space onto more abstract meanings such as temporal reference. Generalization changes relatively specific meanings or meanings largely restricted to a particular domain into those that could be used in larger contexts. Subjectification changes meanings formerly associated with description of the external world into those associated with personal emotion and evaluation. Finally, variation of the frame of focus on the source image schema gives rise to various meanings that are in apparent antonymy. This investigation shows that semantic change is a complex process in which multifarious factors and mechanisms interplay.