C. LE FEUVRE: La hiérarchisation des traits sémantiques

Claire Le Feuvre (Université Paris-Sorbonne, France)

L’étymologie scindée et la hiérarchisation des traits sémantiques

Greek etymologists usually do not take into account diachronic evolution. When the meaning of a word has changed over time, they do not try to provide a unique etymology accounting for the different meanings, but they often propose two different etymologies, each of which justifies only one meaning. These etymologies are partial and complementary, one alone cannot account for the entire semantic range of the word, but is true in one context only. Rather than trying to find a single etymology based either on the smallest common denominator for all contextual uses of a given word, that is, on the core meaning obtained after removal of contextual features, or on a chronological ordering of the different contextual uses, that is, on the oldest meaning after removal of the more recent ones, they provide distinct etymologies incorporating contextual features. They do not, however, consider that they are dealing with two homonymous words because the relationship between a lexeme and an etymology is not a bijection.