25 Apr 2022
My article “Metonymy and argument alternations in French communication frames” has just been published in the journal Cognitive Linguistics. This article expands on work from my dissertation. I investigated French words that express communication, particularly those dealing with revealing a secret (i.e. révéler ‘reveal’, divulguer ‘divulge’, dévoilement ‘unveiling’, etc.). Around these words, the semantic arguments can alternate — for example, you can say that a Speaker revealed a secret (Jean révèle…) or that a Medium of communication revealed a secret (Le livre révèle…). These alternations are examples of metonymy, a mental mechanism that allows linked concepts to stand for one another. I looked at alternations like this historically, finding that certain alternations became more frequent in written French over the past few centuries. The analysis shows connections between sociohistorical changes (such as the rise of print media in Europe) and lexico-constructional changes in the language. You can read the full article here.