Semantic primes in historical languages. The identification of the Old English exponent for DO

Raquel Mateo Mendaza


This journal article follows the research line opened on the search for semantic primes’ exponents in Old English within the frame of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage theory (Goddard 1997, 2012; Goddard and Wierzbicka 2002). The aim of this study is to complete the line of research on prime identification opened on the category Actions, events, movement, contact by establishing the Old English exponent of the prime DO. With this purpose, this paper discusses the adequacy of different OE verbs as possible prime exponent on the basis of textual frequency, morphology, semantics and syntactic complementation. Relevant data of analysis have been retrieved mainly from the lexical database of Old English Nerthus, the Dictionary of Old English (Healey et al. 2018) and the Dictionary of Old English Corpus (Healey et al. 2009).



Natural Semantic Metalanguage; semantic primes; historical linguistics; Old English; valency options

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