Thanasis Georgakopoulos – Lattice seminar – 13 June 2023

In June 2023, Thanasis Georgakopoulos (Univ. Thessaloniki, Greece) will be the International chair of Labex EFL, and also our guest at LaTTiCe. Our monthly seminar will be delighted to hear him on June 13th, 2023. His title: "Networks in aid of historical linguistics and linguistic typology: Uncovering hidden patterns in language evolution and language diversity".

Salle 512bis (Lattice, 1 rue Maurice Arnoux, 92120 Montrouge)

Online link :

Schedule : 10:30-12:00.

Guest speaker : Thanasis Georgakopoulos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Chaire internationale 2023 du Labex EFL)

Title : Networks in aid of historical linguistics and linguistic typology : Uncovering hidden patterns in language evolution and language diversity


In recent years, an increasing number of studies have utilized networks to represent typological universals of linguistic co-expression, and reveal associations between the meanings that are co-expressed (e.g., Jackson et al., 2019; Youn et al., 2016). These studies have shown that networks are not only effective for visualizing data, but they are also a valuable tool for uncovering details that would otherwise remain hidden (see also List et al., 2013; List 游函, 2016). This talk aligns with this trend and aims to demonstrate how graph-theoretic techniques and networks can enhance our understanding of fundamental questions in Historical Linguistics and Linguistic Typology.

Specifically, this talk will highlight how semantic maps and colexification networks, two popular graph structure representations employed in typology (Croft, 2022; Georgako­poulos, 2019), can be used to uncover pathways of meaning evolution, and capture meaning­ful generalizations about the organization of the lexicon and its reshaping over time. In addition, it will present a protocol for integrating the diachronic dimension into lexical semantic maps (François, 2022; Georgakopoulos & Polis, 2021). In doing so, we can delve deeper into the potential of colexification networks, and reveal interrelations between 1/ association patterns found across multiple languages and 2/ the frequency of occurrence of specific words within individual languages.

This parallel investigation will shed new light on the evolution of polysemy patterns over time, and showcase the potential of using cross-linguistic data to investigate language-specific questions.

Di Natale, A., Max Pellert, Pellert, M., David Garcia, & Garcia, D. (2021). Colexification Networks Encode Affective Meaning. Affective Science, 2(2), 99–111.

Croft, W. (2022). On two mathematical representations for “semantic maps.” Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 67–87.

François, A. (2022). Lexical tectonics: Mapping structural change in patterns of lexification. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 41(1), 89–123.

Georgakopoulos, T. (2019). Semantic Maps. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Georgakopoulos, T., & Polis, S. (2021). Lexical diachronic semantic maps: Mapping the evolution of time-related lexemes. Journal of Historical Linguistics, 11(3), 367–420. [link]

Jackson, J. C., Watts, J., Henry, T. R., List, J.-M., Forkel, R., Mucha, P. J., Greenhill, S. J., Gray, R. D., & Lindquist, K. A. (2019). Emotion semantics show both cultural variation and universal structure. Science, 366(6472), 1517–1522.

List, J.-M., Terhalle, A., & Urban, M. (2013). Using Network Approaches to Enhance the Analysis of Cross-Linguistic Polysemies. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS 2013) – Short Papers, 347–353.

List (游函), J.-M. (2016). Using Network Models to Analyze Old Chinese Rhyme Data (用網 絡模型來分析古代漢語的韻母數據). Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics, 9(2), 218–241.

Rzymski, C., Tresoldi, T., Greenhill, S. J., Wu, M.-S., Schweikhard, N. E., Koptjevskaja- Tamm, M., Gast, V., Bodt, T. A., Hantgan, A., Kaiping, G. A., Chang, S., Lai, Y., Morozova, N., Arjava, H., Hübler, N., Koile, E., Pepper, S., Proos, M., Van Epps, B., … List, J.-M. (2020). The Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications, reproducible analysis of cross-linguistic polysemies. Scientific Data, 7(1), Article 1.

Youn, H., Sutton, L., Smith, E., Moore, C., Wilkins, J. F., Maddieson, I., Croft, W., & Bhattacharya, T. (2016). On the universal structure of human lexical semantics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(7), 1766–1771.