Date of Award

Summer 1995

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Program/Concentration

Applied Linguistics

Committee Director

Charles Ruhl

Committee Member

Carole P. Hines

Abstract

The verb hold is normally presumed to be highly polysemous; dictionaries ascribe to it several senses and sub-senses. This treatment is supported by the polysemous bias in current semantic research. In this thesis, I claim that hold is monosemic, with ascribed meanings resulting from pragmatic modulation. My treatment of hold is based on Charles Ruhl's work with monosemy in his book On Monosemy: A Study in Linguistic Semantics.

This study isolates hold's constant semantic contribution throughout 250 diverse example sentences. I claim that hold: (1) presupposes a sequence, and then (2) suspends the sequence.

After an introduction and a chapter on current treatments of hold, I present simple transitives (chapter 3) and then a look at objects modified by adjectives and the possibility of small clauses (chapter 4). Also covered are example sentences containing phrasal verbs (chapter 5) and idioms (chapter 6). A sampling of prepositional phrases and their impact on hold is presented in chapters 7 and 8.

DOI

10.25777/14fj-wh37

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