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La terminologie pastorale en languedocien : étude dialectologique et sémantique Mills, Geoffrey

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the presentation, a dialectological study and a semantic analysis, of modern Occitan vocabulary related to sheep-raising. The corpus was obtained by means of a questionnaire used in interviews with dialect-speaking shepherds or rural inhabitants familiar with sheep-raising practices. A major problem during the gathering of the data was finding informants who were native to the localities chosen in southeastern Languedoc. The area covered by the enquetes is roughly rectangular, extending from Mende in the north to the Mediterranean in the south, the river Vidourle in the east to within a few kms, of Albi in the west. The departements of the Herault, Aude, Tarn, Gard, Aveyron and Lozere fall either fully or partially within this zone. The dialectological study consists of a discussion of the influences of natural barriers on the distribution of certain lexical items within the zone and the possible effects of the transhumance on word movement. A set of 58 maps, relegated to the appendix, serves to illustrate patterns of distribution, which in most cases, coincide with those found in the dialectological studies of Mr. Louis Michel(La langue des pecheurs du Golfe du Lyon). The semantic analysis is in two parts: the first section attempts to characterise (g)ccitan vocabulary in contrast to the vocabulary of standard French, using traditional methods of analysis as illustrated by Mr. Stephen Ullmann (Precis de semantique franqaise); the second section is an examination of certain modern theories of semantics, notably Mr. John Lyons* theory of semantic relations, and the theory of componential analysis as originally explained by Messrs. Katz and Fodor. Both theories appeared to be inadequate in describing the structure of the vocabulary of a natural language such as Occitan. The final section of the thesis consists of a complete glossary with cross-references to the corpus. The main points of interest of this synchronic study are the presentation of many lexical items not found in the Occitan dictionaries, which will supplement present work on linguistic atlases in the zone studied, and the rather negative but none-the-less useful conclusions of the semantic analysis, which will make a contribution to general semantic theory.

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