Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Daniel Parker

Committee Members

Talbot Taylor

John Eisele


The words “cat” in English, “chat” in French, and “feles” in Latin are essentially equal, in that they all refer to the same concept. However, when considering words like “honor” in English, “honneur” in French, and “decus” in Latin, matters grow more complicated. Can anyone say how these words relate to each other? Do they have identical meanings across the three languages? Or are there nuances of meaning not captured by simple translations? And, what do these words mean within the contexts of their own languages? After all, defining “honor” is a difficult task per se. There are countless words of this ilk in English, French, and Latin. How do these words denoting abstract concepts differ semantically across the three languages? And what would be the most useful, informative, or accurate method for determining these cross-linguistic semantic differences? This honors thesis in linguistics, therefore, provides insights into cross-linguistic differences in the semantics of abstract concepts; it also describes the new semantic star method for the operationalization of semantic salience based on a set of calculated word vectors; and it positions this new computational methodology in the existing framework of lexical semantics.

On-Campus Access Only