This article takes as its focus the overlexicalization and semantic variation of reference terms for Native Americans in the period of the English exploration, settlement and colonization of Virginia (1584-1724). The corpus-assisted discourse analysis of pamphlets, first-hand accounts and letters taken from the Virtual Jamestown Digital Archive reveals that the lexical items used for naming the Natives undergo a process of amelioration and pejoration throughout the decades in relation to the changing historical and sociocultural context in which they are used. An investigation of the definition and quotations of the same lexical items in the online version of the OED shows that although the dictionary attests the overlexicalization occurring for the Native Americans and reflects the most frequent lexico-syntactic patterns in which the words are found in the corpus, the choice of the quotations fails to account for instances of semantic variation and for the resulting ambivalent connotations of the terms.
Feb 14, 2023
Nov 25, 2021
|Cecconi, Elisabetta, Overlexicalization and semantic variationin the Early Modern English naming of Native Americans
|Feb 14, 2023