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Regional Specialization in Perceiving and Using the Senses of Polysemes

D Ochieng


The scrutiny of four polysemes: safari (n), perception (n), meanwhile (adv.) and store (n) in Tanzanian and American corpuses of Englishes suggests an existence of a specialization in perceiving and using senses of polysemes by region. The present study found out that Tanzanian English users normally mean different by the terms ‘safari’ and ‘store’ to what American English users normally mean by the same terms. At the same time, the perception and the use of the polysemes, ‘perception’and‘meanwhile’, revealed a distinctive pattern of use between American and Tanzanian Englishes. The study further discovered that some senses of these polysemes – otherwise discernible from the contextual clues in the corpora – were not registered in either the Longman or the Oxford dictionaries. The discovery suggests that the excluded senses of the polysemes are the regional senses that are not yet standard enough to qualify for entry in these Standard English reference books.

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eISSN: 0856-6739