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The polysemy of the Spanish verb sentir: A behavioral profile analysis

Authors
  • Jansegers, Marlies
  • Vanderschueren, Clara
  • Enghels, Renata
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cognitive Linguistics
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2015
Volume
26
Issue
3
Pages
381–421
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/cog-2014-0055
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This study investigates the intricate polysemy of the Spanish perception verb sentir (‘feel’) which, analogous to the more-studied visual perception verbs ver (‘see’) and mirar (‘look’), also displays an ample gamut of semantic uses in various syntactic environments. The investigation is based on a corpus-based behavioral profile (BP) analysis. Besides its methodological merits as a quantitative, systematic and verifiable approach to the study of meaning and to polysemy in particular, the BP analysis offers qualitative usage-based evidence for cognitive linguistic theorizing. With regard to the polysemy of sentir, the following questions were addressed: (1) What is the prototype of each cluster of senses? (2) How are the different senses structured: how many senses should be distinguished – i.e., which senses cluster together and which senses should be kept separately? (3) Which senses are more related to each other and which are highly distinguishable? (4) What morphosyntactic variables make them more or less distinguishable? The results show that two significant meaning clusters can be distinguished, which coincide with the division between the middle voice uses (sentirse) and the other uses (sentir). Within these clusters, a number of meaningful subclusters emerge, which seem to coincide largely with the more general semantic categories of physical, cognitive and emotional perception.

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