The conceptual and semantic shift of “noble” and its synonyms as a case of semiosis

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Abstract

The paper explores the interrelation between the socially biased phenomena, affecting the conceptual domain of “knighthood” in the XIII-XV centuries. Nobility and knighthood as interrelated conceptual entities became increasingly complicated, due to cultural semiosis, which brought about drastic conceptual and semantic changes in the adjectives under scrutiny: worthy, noble, gentle. The analysis of corpus and lexicographic material as well as romances of the period demonstrated that conceptual changes became the major triggers for the large-scale semantic changes within the category.

List of abbreviationsB&T –

Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary

MED –

Middle English dictionary

OED –

Oxford English Dictionary

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