Panchronic semantics | Diversity Linguistics Comment | translations finnish literature into italian |

“In the case of language families with ancient sources, it is possible to follow the written record of one language through centuries and even millenia, and these precious examples provide (almost) unambiguous evidence concerning possible semantic changes and their directionality.


One way to establish general principles on the directionality of semantic change is to collect and classify all attested examples from families with ancient written record. Unfortunately, this method has a severe limitation: for the great majority of the world’s languages and language families, there is no reliable documentation before the 20th century, and almost all languages with ancient record belong to a few families from Eurasia. Such an endeavour is indispensable, but on the other hand too restricted to have a general applicability."