Bilingual Dictionaries and Theories of Word Meaning

By November 23, 2016,
Page 61-76
Author Pius ten Hacken
Title Bilingual Dictionaries and Theories of Word Meaning
Abstract When theory is applied to dictionaries, it is first of all monolingual dictionaries that are addressed. However, there is no reason to consider bilingual dictionaries as somehow less theory-prone than their monolingual counterparts. The domain of linguistics that is most relevant for lexicography is word meaning. Therefore, I present four theoretical perspectives of word meaning and discuss how they can be applied to bilingual dictionaries. Word meaning has been conceived as the set of objects the word can refer to, the lexical relations the word has with other words, the way the word has been used, or the semantic information stored with the word in a speaker’s brain. As I show, the reference-based view of meaning and the one based on lexical relations would require radically different types of bilingual dictionaries than the ones we currently have. The perspective based on the use of a word gives rise to corpus linguistics and frame semantics. It is particularly useful when it comes to compiling a bilingual dictionary. The concept-based, mental view of meaning offers a good basis for the evaluation and interpretation of dictionaries. These two perspectives can be seen as supplementing each other and need not be in competition.
Session Plenary Lectures
Keywords reference; lexical fields; corpora; frame semantics; Conceptual Structure; prototypes; dictionary compilation; dictionary evaluation; dictionary interpretation
author={Pius ten Hacken},
title={Bilingual Dictionaries and Theories of Word Meaning},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 17th EURALEX International Congress},
address={Tbilisi, Georgia},
editor={Tinatin Margalitadze, George Meladze},
publisher={Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi University Press},