Metonymical Object Changes in Dutch: Lexicographical choices and verb meaning

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorJosefien Sweep
TitleMetonymical Object Changes in Dutch: Lexicographical choices and verb meaning
AbstractThe Dutch term objectsverwisseling (literally: ‘object change’) is a lexicographical label used to describe specific combinations of a verb with two qualitatively different direct objects. Illustrative examples are de borden / de tafel afruimen (‘to clear the plates / the table’), hout / een vuur / de haard aansteken (‘to light wood / a fire / the fireplace’), riet / manden vlechten (‘to weave reed / baskets’), gaten / sokken stoppen (‘to darn holes / stockings’), sinaasappels / sap persen (‘to press oranges / juice’), eieren / kuikens uitbroeden (‘to hatch eggs / chicks’), etc.
These examples are often analysed as specific instances of metonymy (cf. Adelung 1811; VanDale 2005; Koch 2001; Waltereit 1998). Both possible direct objects are interchangeable because they are conceptually connected by their existence as a conceptual unity in the real world (such as a set table, a wood fire, reed baskets, etc.). There are, however, some discrepancies between linguistics studies of metonymical object changes (MOCs) and lexicographical choices in dictionaries. These basically concern the question of whether an object change affects the meaning of the verb.
On the basis of theoretical considerations as well as lexicographical descriptions I will try to clarify to what extent MOCs influence the meaning of a verb. To this purpose, I will evaluate the incorporation of MOCs in two standard Dutch dictionaries, i.e. Van Dale Groot Woordenboek van de Nederlandse Taal (2005) and Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal. Theoretically, it will turn out to be necessary to distinguish between grammatical-relational information and lexical meaning (cf. Brdar 2007: 181). I will argue that MOCs actually provide evidence for the fact that the verb has one lexical meaning. In this way, the present paper gives more insight into the object changes, into the underlying metonymy and also into verb meaning in general. These insights may subsequently be useful in the improvement of dictionary entries.
SessionLexicological Issues of Lexicographical Relevance
author = {Josefien Sweep},
title = {Metonymical Object Changes in Dutch: Lexicographical choices and verb meaning},
pages = {1428-1435},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 14th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2010},
month = {jul},
date = {6-10},
address = {Leeuwarden/Ljouwert, The Netherlands},
editor = {Anne Dykstra and Tanneke Schoonheim},
publisher = {Fryske Akademy},
isbn = {978-90-6273-850-3},