№ Complete List of Semantic Components D1 D2 D3 D4 D5
1 To acquire by paying or agreeing to pay money or some equivalent: Let me buy you a drink.
2 To be the means of purchasing, or to be capable of purchasing: All that money can buy.
3 To acquire by sacrifice, exchange, or trade: buy victory with humanlives. + + + + +
4 To win over a person by bribary or promises: I won't be bought that easily! + + + + +
5 [Slang] To accept as true, valid, practical, agreeable, etc.: I can't buy this excuse. + - + + +
6 [Intransitive] To act as a purchaser. + - + - -
7 [Intransitive] To purchase / buy goods. + - + - -
8 To believe in a person or movement or subscribe to an idea or theory: Couldn't buy into that brand of consdervatism.
9 To be the price of purchasing: $ 4.000 will buy the machine. - + - - +
10 To be deceived by, suffer, or receive as punishment, etc.: buy it, be killed. - - - + -
11 [Archaic] Theological. To redeem. - - + - -
The analysis shows that the verb "to buy", contrariwise to the verb "to sell", is hardly ever used as an intransitive one (this assumption is further verified by the textual analysis of the given conversive pair). The sememes that are found in all the dictionaries are "To acquire by paying or agreeing to pay money or some equivalent" (direct meaning of the verb), "To be the means of purchasing, or to be capable of purchasing" and "To acquire by sacrifice, exchange, or trade" (figurative meaning). The textual analysis reveals that the first two of them are dominant components of the semantic structure of the verb "to sell".
However, it is necessary to make the diachronic contextual analysis of the given verbs, in order to determine and verify which of their dictionary usage meanings were dominant and which were periphery during the earlier period of the English language development, and to compare them with the semantic structure of the given conversives in NE. Particularly, in Part III we trace the diachronic semantic development of the given conversive pairs in discourse and try to analyze the semantic changes that occurred during the period examined.
Part II. The Overview of Semantic Changes.
Innovations which change the lexical meaning rather than the grammatical function of a form, are classed as change of meaning or semantic change [2, p. 425].
The contexts and phrasal combinations of a form in the older written records of the English language often show that it once had a different meaning. The King James translation of the Bible (1611) says, of the herbs and trees (Genesis 1, 29) "to you they shall he for meat". Similarly, the Old English translation in this passage used the word mete. We infer that the word meat used to mean 'food,' and we may assure ourselves of this by looking into the foreign texts from which these English translations were made. Sometimes the ancients tell us meanings outright, chiefly in the form of glosses; thus, an Old English glossary uses the word mete to translate the Latin cibus, which we know to mean 'food.'
In other instances the comparison of related languages shows different meanings in forms that we feel justified in viewing as cognate. Thus, chin agrees in meaning with German Kinn and Dutch kin, but Gothic kinnus and the Scandinavian forms, from Old Norse kinn to the present, mean 'cheek.' In other Indo-Europea'n languages we find Greek ['genus] 'chin' agreeing with West Germanic, but Latin gena 'cheek' agreeing with Gothic and Scandinavian, while Sanskrit ['hanuh] 'jaw' shows us a third meaning. We conclude that the old meaning, whatever it was, has changed in some or all of these languages.
A third, but much less certain indication of semantic change, appears in the structural analysis of forms. Thus, understand had in Old English time the same meaning as now, but since the word is a compound of stand and under, we infer that at the time the compound was first formed (as an analogic new-formation) it must have meant 'stand under'; this gains in probability from the fact that under once meant also 'among,' for the cognates, German unter and Latin inter, have this meaning. Thus, at first these things may have meant 'I stand among these things.' In other cases, a form whose structure in the present state of the language does not imply anything as to meaning, may have been semantically analyzable in an earlier stage. The word ready has the adjective-forming suffix -y added to a unique root, but the Old English form [je're:de], which, but for an analogic re-formation of the suffix, can be viewed as the ancestor of ready, meant 'swift, suited, skilled' and was a derivative of the verb ['ri:dan] 'to ride,' past tense [ra:d] 'rode,' derived noun [ra:d] 'a riding, a road.' We infer that when [je're:de] was first formed, it meant 'suitable or prepared for riding.'
Inferences like these are sometimes wrong, because the make-up of a form may be of later date than its meaning. Thus, crawfish and gooseberry, adaptations of crevise and *groze-berry, can tell us nothing about any older meanings.
2.1. Classification of Semantic Changes According to the Logical Relations Between Successive Meanings.
We can easily see today that a change in the meaning of a speech-form is merely the result of a change in the use of it and other, semantically related speech-forms. Earlier students, however, went at this problem as if the speech-form were a relatively permanent object to which the meaning was attached as a kind of changeable satellite. They hoped by studying the successive meanings of a single form, such as meat 'food' > 'flesh-food,' to find the reason for this change. This led them to classify semantic changes according to the logical relations that connect the successive meanings. They set up such classes as the following:
Old English mete 'food' > meat 'edible flesh'
Old English deor 'beast' > deer 'wild ruminant of a particular species'
Old English hund 'dog' > hound 'hunting-dog of a particular breed'
Middle English bridde 'young birdling' > bird
Middle English dogge 'dog of a particular (ancient) breed' > dog
Latin virtus 'quality of a man, manliness' > French vertu (> English virtue) 'good quality'
Primitive Germanic *['bitraz] 'biting' (derivative of *r'bi:to:] 'I bite') > bitter 'harsh of taste'
The meanings are near each other in space or time:
Old English ceace 'jaw' > cheek
Old French joue ' cheek' > jaw
The meanings are related as whole and part:
Primitive Germanic *['tu:naz] 'fence' (so still German Zaun) > town