On Lexicon and Grammar

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorTullio De Mauro
TitleOn Lexicon and Grammar
AbstractThe 'lexicon' considered as the entire inventory of words in a kmguage has recently come to the forefront. Such emphasis at times appears to be explainable as reaction to previous denials of the role of the lexicon in language, or to attempts to marginalise lexemes in analyses inspired by the theoretical view that in re lexemes are a kind of inert matter, a filler of independent syntactic modules. From the point of view of theoretical semiotics (or of semiotically and theoretically aware linguistics) - not just the lexicon, but all the semiotic dimensions of a sign in a particular language, and of the parts into which that sign can be articulated, are equally "central", although none of these is conceivable without correlation to the others. For those who learn or speak a language, learning and knowing how to use what we call a lexeme (or, more commonly, a word) has a didactic, psychological and social importance: learning a word and knowing how to use it correctly always involves learning to understand and use (1) its phonology, (2) the potential of at least a group of meanings that are correlated to it, (3) the grammar and morphology that each word carries (its possible collocation among the partes orationis of a language, hence its flexional and syntagmatic-distributive potential, and its possible collocation in the derivational mechanisms of a language) and (4), in most languages and linked to the above, its syntactic potential. The validity of lexico-grammar has to be pointed up on the condition however that this is not understood and practised as a totality but as one part (important but not totalising) alongside others such as lexico-phonology, lexico-morphology, lexico-syntax and lexico-semantics.
author = {Tullio De Mauro},
title = {On Lexicon and Grammar },
pages = {19-29},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 12th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2006},
month = {sep},
date = {6-9},
address = {Torino, Italy},
editor = {Elisa Corino, Carla Marello, Cristina Onesti},
publisher = {Edizioni dell'Orso},
isbn = {88-7694-918-6},