QLVL Research Profile

This page describes the research profile of the QLVL group in a nutshell, with extra information about the historical development of the group's research activities, and a short list of crucial references.

In a nutshell

The research group's main area of investigation is language variation, with two specific interests: lexical variation at large, both from a synchronic and a diachronic point of view,
and the interaction between internal (structural) and external (lectal) variation in grammatical constructions.

The research method is corpus-based, with the occasional addition of experimental techniques. Specifically, the group focuses on advanced quantitative methods for studying lexical and constructional variation.

The theoretical framework of the research team is predominantly that of Cognitive Linguistics. As the founder of the journal Cognitive Linguistics, Dirk Geeraerts played a significant role in the expansion of the Cognitive approach.

Main references

The major steps in the development of the QLVL line of research are to be found in the following monographs.

1994 The Structure of Lexical Variation
Dirk Geeraerts, Stefan Grondelaers & Peter Bakema
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter

1997 Diachronic Prototype Semantics
Dirk Geeraerts
Oxford: The Clarendon Press

1999 Convergentie en divergentie in de Nederlandse woordenschat
Dirk Geeraerts, Stefan Grondelaers & Dirk Speelman
Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut

2010 Theories of Lexical Semantics
Dirk Geeraerts
Oxford: Oxford University Press

2010 Advances in Cognitive Sociolinguistics
Dirk Geeraerts, Gitte Kristiansen & Yves Peirsman
Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut

For an extended list of recently published work, with downloads, see the publications page.

Lines of development

The research group grew out of Dirk Geeraerts' pre-1990 investigations into a prototype-theoretical model of lexical change (a summa of which can be found in Geeraerts 1997). Since the early 1990s, the group has developed its approach in three major steps.

In a first phase, a model was developed of the different types of lexicological variation, in which the interaction between semasiological variation, onomasiological variation, and contextual variation occupies a central position (see Geeraerts, Grondelaers & Bakema 1994).

In the next phase, we started to concentrate on sociolexicology, i.e. onomasiological variation as determined by traditional sociolinguistic factors (like geographical or stylistic variation). A specific focus lay (and continues to lie) on the synchronic and diachronic relationship between Belgian and Netherlandic Dutch (see Geeraerts, Grondelaers & Speelman 1999).

In current research, the initially lexical focus of our activities is undergoing extensions in two directions:
- to the interaction between lexical and non-lexical types of linguistic variation
- to the interaction between structural and contextual sources of linguistic variability.