Simulating semantic change: A methodological note

Remus Gergel, Martin Kopf-Giammanco, Maike Puhl


The current work discusses the Human Diachronic Simulation Paradigm (HUDSPA), a method to experimentally probe into historical meaning change set up to (i) scan for configurations similar to attested alterations of meaning but in (typically, but not necessarily, related) languages or varieties which did not actualize the change(s) under investigations; (ii) measure the reactions of native speakers in order to ascertain the verisimilitude as well as the particular semantic and pragmatic properties of the items scrutinized. Specifically, the present paper discusses the relative propensity of a particularizer (German eben) to be interpreted with comparatively high confidence as a scalar additive particle such as even and of a concessive item like English though to be interpreted similar to a modal particle along the lines of German doch.


Keywords. diachronic semantics; additives; modal particles; experimental semantics; experimental pragmatics

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Copyright (c) 2021 Remus Gergel, Martin Kopf-Giammanco, Maike Puhl

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