On the Problem of Lexical Semantic Change

Document Type : Research Article


Belgorod State University, Belgorod, Russia.


The article provides an insight into a problem of lexical semantic change. A short historical outline of the development of semantic studies is given. The authors analyze some of the most important stages in the history of the formation of this field. The existing approaches to dealing with form and meaning, namely semasiological and onomasiological ones are discussed. The authors consider the ambiguous character of the notion “semantic change” and analyze the existing alternative definitions that convey the sense of the semantic processes involved. The reasons of semantic change are touched upon. The traditional classification of semantic changes and its characteristics are also considered. The authors use some examples from African varieties of English and French to illustrate some of the semantic processes considered in the article.