Gunnar Persson
In historical lexicology, the sense development of many words is intriguing in that the same word may have widely different meanings in different contexts. Describing a variety spanning from a person's marital status to an academic position, bachelor belongs to this category. In this article I shall examine the reasons for this multiplicity of senses from an historical perspective. The examination is based on Rosch's prototype theory (1975), Janicki's axiological sense analysis (1990), and my
more » ... is (1990), and my own version of frame semantics developed from Fillmore (1985) and Barsalou (1992). They are used for uncovering causes for the emergence of various senses of bachelor. These theories all recognise that the 'connotations' widely decried as useless and idiosyncratic associations by traditional semanticists may be some of the most important causes of meaning changes in words. 1 One need only look at the sense development of many everyday words to real-ise that often a so-called 'connotation' has served as the basis of another major sense. 2 This would not be the case if the original connotation had only been marginal. One of the best examples is probably the sense development of bachelor. According to the OED, the origin of bachelor is uncertain, 3 but this is of no concern in this context which focuses on the sense development of the word. The different stages in the sense development will here be regarded as socially and pragmatically conditioned changes of prototypes. In the illustrations of the semantic frames discussed below, ovals represent concepts and their attributes, circles prototypical values of the attributes, and rectangles non-prototypical values. Exclusive prototypes (i.e. those without alternative values) are represented by broken circles. All definitions