Technical Vocabulary and Medieval Text Types: A Semantic Field Approach

Sylvester, L.M. 2016. Technical Vocabulary and Medieval Text Types: A Semantic Field Approach. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 117 (1), pp. 155-176.

TitleTechnical Vocabulary and Medieval Text Types: A Semantic Field Approach
AuthorsSylvester, L.M.
Abstract

This paper seeks to discover in what sense we can classify vocabulary items as technical terms in the later medieval period. In order to arrive at a principled categorization of technicality, distribution is taken as a diagnostic factor: vocabulary shared across the widest range of text types may be assumed to be both prototypical for the semantic field, but also the most general and therefore least technical terms since lexical items derive at least part of their meaning from context, a wider range of contexts implying a wider range of senses. A further way of addressing the question of technicality is tested through the classification of the lexis into semantic hierarchies: in the terms of componential analysis, having more components of meaning puts a term lower in the semantic hierarchy and flags it as having a greater specificity of sense, and thus as more technical. The various text types are interrogated through comparison of the number of levels in their hierarchies and number of lexical items at each level within the hierarchies. Focusing on the vocabulary of a single semantic field, DRESS AND TEXTILES, this paper investigates how four medieval text types (wills, sumptuary laws, petitions, and romances) employ technical terminology in the establishment of the conventions of their genres.

JournalNeuphilologische Mitteilungen
Journal citation117 (1), pp. 155-176
ISSN0028-3754
Year2016
PublisherModern Language Society
Publication dates
Published2016

Related outputs

Narrative in Keywords for Today
Sylvester, L.M. Narrative in Keywords for Today. Critical Quarterly.

Penetration of French-origin lexis in Middle English occupational domains
Sylvester, L.M., Ingham, R. and Marcus, I. 2019. Penetration of French-origin lexis in Middle English occupational domains. in: Cennamo, M. and Fabrizio, C. (ed.) Historical Linguistics 2015: Selected papers from the 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Naples, 27-31 July 2015 Amsterdam John Benjamins. pp. 460-478

The Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England
Sylvester, L.M. and Ingham, R. 2019. The Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England.

The Role of Technical Vocabulary in the Construction of the Medieval Romance Text Type
Sylvester, L.M. 2019. The Role of Technical Vocabulary in the Construction of the Medieval Romance Text Type. Journal of English and Germanic Philology. 118 (1), pp. 73-99. doi:10.5406/jenglgermphil.118.1.0073

Contact effects on the technical lexis of Middle English: A semantic hierarchic approach
Sylvester, L.M. 2018. Contact effects on the technical lexis of Middle English: A semantic hierarchic approach. English Language and Linguistics. 22 (Special Issue 2), pp. 249-264. doi:10.1017/S1360674318000126

A Semantic Field and Text-Type Approach to Late-Medieval Multilingualism
Sylvester, L.M. 2018. A Semantic Field and Text-Type Approach to Late-Medieval Multilingualism. in: Pahta, P., Skaffari, J. and Wright, L. (ed.) Multilingual Practices in Language History: English and Beyond Berlin de Gruyter Mouton. pp. 77-96

Dress, Fashion and Anti-Fashion in the Medieval Imagination
Sylvester, L.M. 2017. Dress, Fashion and Anti-Fashion in the Medieval Imagination. in: Bintley, M., Locker, M., Symons, V. and Wellesley, M. (ed.) Stasis in the Medieval West? Questioning Change and Continuity Palgrave Macmillan.

Blunder, Error, Mistake, Pitfall: Trawling the OED with the Help of the Historical Thesaurus
Roberts, J. and Sylvester, L.M. 2017. Blunder, Error, Mistake, Pitfall: Trawling the OED with the Help of the Historical Thesaurus. Altre Modernità. 04/2017, pp. 18-35. doi:10.13130/2035-7680/8299

Studying French-Origin Middle English Lexis Using the Bilingual Thesaurus of Medieval England: A Comparison of the Vocabulary of Two Occupational Domains
Sylvester, L.M. and Marcus, I. 2017. Studying French-Origin Middle English Lexis Using the Bilingual Thesaurus of Medieval England: A Comparison of the Vocabulary of Two Occupational Domains. in: Delesse, C. and Louviot, E. (ed.) Studies in Language Variation and Change 2: Shifting, Switching and Alternating Patterns in the History of English Newcastle upon Tyne Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 217-228

A Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England: Some Issues at the Interface of Semantics and Lexicography
Sylvester, L.M., Marcus, I. and Ingham, R. 2017. A Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England: Some Issues at the Interface of Semantics and Lexicography. International Journal of Lexicography. 30 (3), pp. 309-321. doi:10.1093/ijl/ecw018

The Language of Dress and Textiles in Wills of the Old English Period
Sylvester, L.M. 2016. The Language of Dress and Textiles in Wills of the Old English Period. in: Hyer, M.C. and Frederick, J. (ed.) Textiles, Text, Intertext: Essays in Honour of Gale R. Owen-Crocker Boydell & Brewer. pp. 27-41

Middle English Style
Sylvester, L.M. 2015. Middle English Style. in: Sotirova, V. (ed.) The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics London Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 583-606

Multilingualism in the vocabulary of dress and textiles in late medieval Britain: some issues for historical lexicology
Sylvester, L.M. and Chambers, M. 2012. Multilingualism in the vocabulary of dress and textiles in late medieval Britain: some issues for historical lexicology. in: Hegedus, I. and Fodor, A. (ed.) English historical linguistics 2010 John Benjamins. pp. 313-326

Mining for gold: investigating a semantic classification in the lexis of cloth and clothing
Sylvester, L.M. 2012. Mining for gold: investigating a semantic classification in the lexis of cloth and clothing. in: Netherton, R. and Owen-Crocker, G. (ed.) Medieval Clothing and Textiles Boydell.

Middle English: semantics and the lexicon
Sylvester, L.M. 2012. Middle English: semantics and the lexicon. in: Brinton, L. and Bergs, A. (ed.) Historical linguistics of English: an international handbook Berlin De Gruyter. pp. 450-466

The lexis of cloth and clothing in Britain c.700-1450: originsm identification, contexts and change
Owen-Crocker, G., Warr, C., Sylvester, L.M., Pritchard, F., Chambers, M., Rutten, S., Zumbuhl, M., Risley, D., Scully, A., Hayes, M., Williams, P., Lorimer, R., Lorimer, P., Walker, P. and Bouhafna, E. 2012. The lexis of cloth and clothing in Britain c.700-1450: originsm identification, contexts and change. Manchester University of Manchester.

The roles of reader construal and lexicographic authority in the interpretation of Middle English texts
Sylvester, L.M. 2010. The roles of reader construal and lexicographic authority in the interpretation of Middle English texts. in: Winters, M., Tissari, H. and Allen, K. (ed.) Historical cognitive linguistics Berlin de Gruyter Mouton. pp. 197-222

Lexicological confusion and medieval clothing culture: redressing medieval dress with the Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain Project
Chambers, M. and Sylvester, L.M. 2010. Lexicological confusion and medieval clothing culture: redressing medieval dress with the Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain Project. in: Hamling, T. and Richardson, C. (ed.) Everyday objects: medieval and early modern material culture and its meanings Aldershot Ashgate. pp. 71-84

From apareil to warderobe: some observations on Anglo-French in the Middle English
Chambers, M. and Sylvester, L.M. 2010. From apareil to warderobe: some observations on Anglo-French in the Middle English. in: Ingham, R. (ed.) The Anglo-Norman language and its contexts York York Medieval Press. pp. 63-73

'Romance', 'Dream Vision', 'Sir Amadace', ,Sir Cleges', 'Sir Degaré', 'Sir Launfal', 'Sir Tristrem'
Sylvester, L.M. 2008. 'Romance', 'Dream Vision', 'Sir Amadace', ,Sir Cleges', 'Sir Degaré', 'Sir Launfal', 'Sir Tristrem'. in: Sauer, M. (ed.) The Facts on File companion to British poetry before 1600 New York Facts on File.

Medieval romance and the construction of heterosexuality
Sylvester, L.M. 2008. Medieval romance and the construction of heterosexuality. Basingstoke, UK Palgrave Macmillan.

Teaching the language of Chaucer
Sylvester, L.M. 2007. Teaching the language of Chaucer. in: Ashton, G. and Sylvester, L.M. (ed.) Teaching Chaucer Basingstoke ; New York Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 81-95

Forces of change: are social and moral attitudes legible in this historical thesaurus classification
Sylvester, L.M. 2006. Forces of change: are social and moral attitudes legible in this historical thesaurus classification. in: Caie, G.D., Hough, C. and Wotherspoon, I. (ed.) The power of words: essays in lexicography, lexicology and semantics: in honour of Christian J. Kay Amsterdam Rodopi.

Evidence for diachronic semantic change in the historical thesaurus of English: a cognitive linguistic approach
Sylvester, L.M. 2004. Evidence for diachronic semantic change in the historical thesaurus of English: a cognitive linguistic approach. in: Moskowich-Spiegel Fandiño, I. and Crespo García, B. (ed.) New trends in English historical linguistics: an Atlantic view Coruna, Spain Universidade de Coruña. pp. 189-221

Categories and taxonomies: a cognitive approach to lexicographical resources
Sylvester, L.M. 2004. Categories and taxonomies: a cognitive approach to lexicographical resources. in: Kay, C.J. and Smith, J.J. (ed.) Categorization in the history of English Amsterdam, Netherlands John Benjamins.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9v900/technical-vocabulary-and-medieval-text-types-a-semantic-field-approach


Share this
Tweet
Email