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Topographical elements in the Balkan lexicon: a descriptive and historical study of vocabulary pertaining to the mountains, lowland, and littoral of south-eastern Europe

Preston, Trevor Ronald Nayland; (1993) Topographical elements in the Balkan lexicon: a descriptive and historical study of vocabulary pertaining to the mountains, lowland, and littoral of south-eastern Europe. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis considers, from both a synchronic and an historical viewpoint, a corpus of 1853 vocabulary items which denote topographical features — mountains, gorges, rivers, lakes, and the like — in six Balkan languages: Serbo-Croat, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Modern Greek, and Albanian. The corpus is drawn mainly from the standard (literary) languages, and it is intended to be as exhaustive as possible; some dialect words which are of special interest on either semantic or etymological grounds are also included. The vocabulary is classified according to the absence, presence, or predominance of water, and the degree of vegetation cover, normally associated with each topographical feature. The contents of the corpus designate a total of 93 distinct features, which are treated in 23 chapters. Each lexical item is traced, as far as possible, to its etymological source, and its semantic evolution is discussed. Onomatopoeia and affectivity, insofar as they characterise the development of a particular area of vocabulary (e.g., swampland), are also examined. Polysemes are considered according to their primary meaning, and secondary usages are listed in relevant chapters. A general treatment of polysemy appears in the Concluding Remarks. Two appendices examine the designation of Balkan landscape features by non-topographical lexemes: i) by anatomical vocabulary (as in English brow of a hill), ii) by architectural vocabulary (as in English wall of rock). The Appendices comprise a total of 35 sections, each dealing with a particular notion (e.g., head) whose designation exhibits a metaphorical (i.e., topographical) extension of meaning (in this instance, mountain top etc.). Diachronic development of meaning is displayed in charts, and schematic maps of the region illustrate the contemporary distribution of metaphorical usage.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Topographical elements in the Balkan lexicon: a descriptive and historical study of vocabulary pertaining to the mountains, lowland, and littoral of south-eastern Europe
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104483
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