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Lecture Summary (11/21/2006)

The topic of this session was "Lexicon data and their structure".

First of all we learned something about lexicon microstructure. We looked at the different kinds of DatCats to be found in a lexicon: the words themselves; the grammatical information (the syntax so to speak) such as part of speech (noun, verb, adjective,...), the inflectional class, the valence and so on; the meaning (semantics, definition); the corpus reference which means usage examples (to avoid any misunderstandings Mr Trippel shortly explained the term corpus afterwards).

As a next step we had a very brief revision of the different types of dictionaries we already knew (semasiological lexicons and onomasiological dictionaries) which led to the questione: Are there any other types of dictionaries to be considered?

Mr Trippel gave the answer by pointing out some examples of other kinds of lexicons:

  • Word frequency lexicons: the entries are ordered by there frequency, the most frequent one first
  • Lexicon of "phrasal verbs": the entries are ordered by their respective part of speech and a special structure
  • Rhyming lexicon: the entries are ordered by the word ending (this means that you can find words that rhyme more easily)
  • Picture lexicon: entries are ordered by prototype

We also dealt with some difficulties lexicographers have to face. One very important aspect in this respect is ambiguity: on the one hand two word form can have the same meaning (synonyms), on the other hand one word form can have two (or more) slightly different meanings (polysemy) or even one word with completely different meanings (homonyms). A second problem is the search for a word in a lexicon. For example in languages with inflectional prefixes some words with the same stem might be torn apart in an alphabetically ordered dictionary due to their different prefixes. Orthographic ambiguity or just the simple question how to search for something in a picture lexicon are problematic as well. But from my point of view the most demanding (and interesting) task for any lexicographer is to deal with the changes occuring in a lanhuage in the course of time. For instance every new invention (or just a new trend) needs a new name. Consequently new words enter a language. Further the meaning of an existing word often changes during the decades or centuries.

Afterwards Mr Trippel introduced some solutions for this problem to us. For example the problem of ambiguity can be solved by enumeration. To face the changes in the language the publishing companies release new and updated editions of their dictionaries regularly.

In the following part of the lecture we learned about the methods of creating lexicons: introspection based lexicon creation, questionnaire based lexicon creation and corpus based lexicon creation. We were also told about the hierarchy of lexicon and corpus types concerning their lexicographic complexity.

15.12.06 19:27

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