Lexicography. Main types of English dictionaries (encyclopedic vs. linguistic; bilingual vs. monolingual, specialized dictionaries etc.). Structure of an entry.

Lexicography, the science, of dictionary-compiling, is closely connected with lexicology, both dealing with the same problems the form, meaning, usage and origin of vocabulary units and making use of each others achievements. On the one hand, the enormous raw material collected in dictionaries is widely used by linguists in their research. On the other hand, the principles of dictionary-making are always based on linguistic fundamentals, and each individual entry is made up in accordance with the current knowledge and findings of scholars in the various fields of language study. The compilers approach to various lexicological problems (such as homonymy, phraseological units, etc.) always finds reflection in the selection and arrangement of the material.

Encyclopaedic and Linguistic Dictionaries. There are many different types of English dictionaries. First of all they may all be roughly divided into two groups encyclopaedic and linguistic. Though, strictly speaking, it is with linguistic dictionaries that lexicology is closely connected and in our further consideration we shall be concerned with this type of reference books only, it may be useful for students of English to know that the most well-known encyclopaedias in English are The Encyclopaedia Britannica (in 24 volumes) and The Encyclopedia Americana (in 30 volumes). Very popular in Great Britain and the USA are also Colliers Encyclopedia (in 24 vols) intended for students and school teachers, Chambers Encyclopaedia (in 15 vols) which is a family type reference book, and Everymans Encyclopaedia (in 12 vols) designed for all-round use. Besides the general encyclopaedic dictionaries there are reference books that are confined to definite fields of knowledge, such as The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford Companion to Theatre, Cassell's Encyclopaedia of World Literature, etc.

Classification of Linguistic Dictionaries. Thus a linguistic dictionary is a book of words in a language, usually listed alphabetically, with definitions, pronunciations, etymologies and other linguistic information or with their equivalents in another language (or other languages). Linguistic dictionaries may be divided into different categories by different criteria. As to the information they provide all linguistic dictionaries fall into those presenting a wide range of data, especially with regard to the semantic aspect of the vocabulary items entered (they are called explanatory) and those dealing with lexical units only in relation to some of their characteristics, e.g. only in relation to their etymology or frequency or pronunciation. These are termed specialised dictionaries. For example, dictionaries of unrestricted word-lists may be quite different in the type of information they contain (explanatory, pronouncing, etymological, ideographic, etc.), terminological dictionaries can also be explanatory, parallel, ideographic, presenting the frequency value of the items entered, etc. On the other hand, translation dictionaries may be general in their word-list, or terminological, phraseological, etc. Frequency dictionaries may have general and terminological word-lists.

All types of dictionaries, save the translation ones, may be mnolingual or bilingual, i.e. the information about the items entered may be given in the same language or in another one. The terms monolingual and bilingual* pertain to the language in which the information about the words dealt with is couched. The terms explanatory and translation dictionaries characterise the kind of information itself. Thus among dictionaries of th3 same type, say phraseological or terminological, we may find both monolingual and bilingual word-books. For example, Kluges Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache is bilingual, but it is not its purpose to supply translation of the items entered. It is important to realise that no dictionary, even the most general one, can be a general-purpose word-book, each one pursues a certain aim, each is designed for a certain set of users. Thus to characterise a dictionary one must qualify it at least from the four angles mentioned above: 1) the nature of the word-list, 2) the information supplied, 3) the language of the explanations, 4) the prospective user. Below we shall give a brief survey of the most important types of English dictionaries, both published in English-speaking countries and at home. Explanatory Dictionaries. Out of the great abundance of linguistic dictionaries of the English language a large group is made up of the so-called explanatory dictionaries, big and small, compiled in English-speaking countries. For instance, the New English Dictionary on Historical Principles commonly abbreviated in NED and its abridgement The Shorter Oxford Dictionary on Historical Principles (SOD) coyer the history of the English vocabulary from the days of King Alfred down to the present time; they are diachronic, whereas another abridgement of the NED the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (COD) as well as H. C. Wyld's Universal Dictionary of the English Language are synchronic. Other series of authoritative synchronic explanatory dictionaries are Webster dictionaries, the Funk and Wagnalls (or Standard) dictionaries and the Century dictionaries. It should be noted that brief remarks of historical and etymological nature inserted in dictionaries like the COD do not make them diachronic. Moreover, dictionaries of a separate historical period, such as Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by J. Bosworth and T. N. Toller, Stratmann's Middle English Dictionary by H. Bradley, which are sometimes called historical, cannot be strictly speaking referred to diachronic wordbooks.

Translation Dictionaries.Translation dictionaries (sometimes also called parallel) are wordbooks containing vocabulary items in one language and their equivalents in another language. Many English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries have been made in our country to meet the demands of language students and those who use English in their work. The most representative translation dictionaries for English are the New English-Russian Dictionary edited by Prof. I. R. Galperin, the English-Russian Dictionary by Prof. V. K. Müller and The Russian-English Dictionary under prof. A. I. Smirnitsky's general direction. It is common practice to call such word-books English-English dictionaries. But this label cannot be accepted as a term for it only points out that the English words treated are explained in the same language, which is typical not only of this type of dictionaries (cf. synonym-books).

Specialised Dictionaries. Phraseological dictionaries in England and America have accumulated vast collections of idiomatic or colloquial phrases, proverbs and other, usually image-bearing word-groups with profuse illustrations. But the compilers approach is in most cases purely empiric. By phraseology many of them mean all forms of linguistic anomalies which transgress the laws of grammar or logic and which are approved by usage. Therefore alongside set-phrases they enter free phrases and even separate words.1 The choice of items is arbitrary, based on intuition and not on any objective criteria. Different meanings of polysemantic units are not singled out, homonyms are not discriminated, no variant phrases are listed.

There are three dictionaries of neologisms for Modern English. Two of these (Berg P. A Dictionary of New Words in English, 1953; Reifer M. Dictionary of New Words, N. Y., 1955) came out in the middle of the 50s and are somewhat out-of-date. The third (A Dictionary of New English. A Barnhart Dictionary, L., 1973) is more up-to-date. The Barnhart Dictionary of New English covers words, phrases, meanings and abbreviations which came into the vocabulary of the English language during the period 1963 1972. The new items were collected from the reading of over half a million running words from US, British and Canadian sources newspapers, magazines and books.

Dictionaries of slang contain elements from areas of substandard speech such as vulgarisms, jargonisms, taboo words, curse-words, colloquialisms, etc.The most well-known dictionaries of the type are Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by E. Partridge, Dictionary of the Underworld: British and American, The American Thesaurus of Slang by L. V. Berry & M. Den Bork, The Dictionary of American Slang by H. Wentworth and S. B. Flexner. The most widely used usage guide is the classic Dictionary of Modern English Usage by N. W. Fowler. Based on it are Usage and Abusage, and Guide to Good English by E. Partridge, A Dictionary of American English Usage by M. Nicholson, and others. Perhaps the best usage dictionary is A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage by B. Evans and C. Evans. (N. Y., 1957).

Dictionaries of word-frequency inform the user as to the frequency of occurrence of lexical units in speech, to be more exact in the corpus of the reading matter or in the stretch of oral speech on which the word-counts are based. Most frequency dictionaries and tables of word frequencies published in English-speaking countries were constructed to make up lists of words considered suitable as the basis for teaching English as a foreign language, the so-called basic vocabulary. Such are, e.g., the E. Throndike dictionaries and M. Wests General Service List. Other frequency dictionaries were designed for spelling reforming, for psycholinguistic studies, for an all-round synchronic analysis of modern English, etc. In the 50s 70s there appeared a number of frequency dictionaries of English made up by Soviet linguo-statisticians for the purposes of automatic analysis of scientific and technical texts and for teaching-purposes (in non-language institutions).

A Reverse dictionary is a list of words in which the entry words are arranged in alphabetical order starting with their final letters. The original aim of such dictionaries was to indicate words which form rhymes (in those days the composition of verse was popular as a very delicate pastime). It is for this reason that one of the most well-known reverse dictionaries of the English language, that compiled by John Walker, is called Rhyming Dictionary of the English Language. Nowadays the fields of application of the dictionaries based on the reverse order (back-to-front dictionaries) have become much wider. Those working in the fields of language and information processing will be supplied with important initial material for automatic translation and programmed instruction using computers.

Pronouncing dictionaries record contemporary pronunciation. As compared with the phonetic characteristics of words given by other dictionaries the information provided by pronouncing dictionaries is much more detailed: they indicate variant pronunciations (which are numerous in some cases), as well as the pronunciation of different grammatical forms. The world famous English Pronouncing Dictionary by Daniel Jones, is considered to provide the most expert guidance on British English pronunciation. The most popular dictionary for the American variant is A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English by J. S. Kenyon and T. A. Knott.

Etymological dictionaries trace present-day words to the oldest forms available, establish their primary meanings and give the parent form reconstructed by means of the comparative-historical method. In case of borrowings they point out the immediate source of borrowing, its origin, and parallel forms in cognate languages. The most authoritative of these is nowadays the newly-published Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology edited by . . Onions. Quite popular is the famous Etymological English Dictionary by W. W. Skeat compiled at the beginning of the century and published many times.

Ideographic dictionaries designed for English-speaking writers, orators or translators seeking to express their ideas adequately contain words grouped by the concepts expressed. The world famous ideographic dictionary of English is P. M. Rogets Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Besides the most important and widely used types of English dictionaries discussed above there are some others, of which no account can be taken in a brief treatment like this (such as synonym-books, spelling reference books, hard-words dictionaries, etc.).


25)Componential analysis, also called feature analysis or contrast analysis, refers to the description of the meaning of words through structured sets of semantic features, which are given as present, absent or indifferent with reference to feature. The method thus departs from the principle of compositionality. Componential analysis is a method typical of structural semantics which analyzes the structure of a word's meaning. Thus, it reveals the culturally important features by which speakers of the language distinguish different words in the domain (Ottenheimer, 2006, p. 20). This is a highly valuable approach to learning another language and understanding a specific semantic domain of an Ethnography.

Structural semantics and the componential analysis were patterned on the phonological methods of the Prague School, which described sounds by determining the absence and presence of features. On one hand, componential analysis gave birth to various models in generative semantics, lexical field theory and transformational grammar. On the other hand, its shortcoming were also visible:

  • The discovery procedures for semantic features are not clearly objectifiable.
  • Only part of the vocabulary can be described through more or less structured sets of features.
  • Metalinguistic features are expressed through language again.
  • Features used may not have clear definitions.
  • Limited in focus and mechanical in style.

A seme is not expressed in a word in any material unit but its revealed & singled out through interrelations of the word with other words on a paradigmatic & syntagmatic levels.

The sem. structure of a word can be represented graphically:

Father =

  • human - seme
  • Adult - seme
  • Male - seme
  • Parent - seme

human, adult, male, parent - they are semes!

  • 1) Componential analysis is very popular in linguistics; it shows heterogeneity, complexity of lexical meaning.
  • 2) Componential analysis helps to differentiate between words (especially between synonyms) the difference between small & little lies in the presence of an additional seme (pleasant, nice) in the word little → not absolute synonyms.
  • 3) Componential analysis helps to explain semantic derivation (metaphor, metonymy, etc.)
  • 4) Componential analysis to create the so called language of semantic primitives minimal units of sense.

Seme (same as Sememe, Semantic component) minimal unit of sense, an 'atom' of lexical semantics, distinguished on the basis of oppositions by methods applied in componential analysis.

Typology of semes.:

  • - categorial s.;
  • - denotative/connotative s.;
  • - differential s.;
  • - covert/overt s.;
  • - occasional s.;
  • - potential s.
Binary taxonomy +LIVE = alive -LIVE = dead
Multiple taxonomy *METAL = gold #METAL = silver @METAL = copper etc.
Polarity ^SIZE = large vSIZE = small
Relation >PARENT = is the parent of <PARENT = is the child of (also bidirectional, such as sibling)
Hierarchy 1LENGTH = inch 2LENGTH = foot 3LENGTH = yard etc.
Inverse opposition {POSSIBLE = possible }POSSIBLE = necessary (also all/some, allow/compel, etc.)


Synonymy is a lexical relation that means sameness of meaning. Synonyms are similar, but not identical. Examples of some English synonyms are:

car and automobile smart and intelligent
baby and infant student and pupil
pretty and attractive sick and ill
funny and humorous died and expired


Synonymscan be nouns, adverbs or adjectives, as long as both members of the pair are of the same part of speech. Traditionally, synonymy can only hold between words, and, more precisely, between words belonging to the same part of speech; for example: enormous = huge; gaze = stare. This is the classic form of synonymy, covered by, for instance, synonym dictionaries.

Classification of Synonyms

The outstanding Russian philologist A.I. Smirnitsky suggested the classification of synonyms

into 3 types:

1. Ideographic synonyms - words conveying the same notion but differing in shades of

meaning: to understand - to realize

to expect - to anticipate

to look - glance - stare - peep - gaze healthy - wholesome - sound - sane

2. Stylistic - words differing only in stylistic characteristics:

to begin - to commence - to high

to think - to deem

enemy - opponent - foe - adversary

to help - to aid - to assist

courage - valour - dauntlessness - grit - guts

3. Absolute (perfect, complete) - words coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in

all their stylistic characteristics. Absolute synonyms are rare in a language. In Russian, f.e.: - ; ; .

In English: pilot - airman flyer flyingman; screenwriter - scriptwriter - scripter - semasiology semantics.


© 2013 wikipage.com.ua - wikipage.com.ua |