Systematic polysemy in lexicology and lexicography

AuthorGeoffrey Nunberg
TitleSystematic polysemy in lexicology and lexicography
AbstractThe phenomenon of systematic polysemy offers a fruitful domain for examining the theoretical differences between lexicological and lexicographic approaches to description. We consider here the process that provides for systematic conversion of count to mass nouns in English (a chicken -> chicken, an oak -> oak etc.). From the point of view of lexicology, we argue, standard syntactic and pragmatic tests suggest the phenomenon should be described by means of a single unindividuated transfer function that does not distinguish between interpretations (rabbit = "meat" vs. "fur"). From the point of view of lexicography, however, these pragmatically determined "sense precisions" are made part of explicit description via the inclusion of semantic "licenses, " a mechanism distinct from lexical rules.
SessionPART 4 - Linguistics in Lexicography
Keywordspolysemy, sense-extension, lexical rules, mass terms
author = {Geoffrey Nunberg},
title = {Systematic polysemy in lexicology and lexicography},
pages = {386-396},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 5th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {1992},
month = {aug},
date = {4-9},
address = {Tampere, Finland},
editor = {Hannu Tommola & Krista Varantola,Tarja Salmi-Tolonen & Jurgen Schopp},
publisher = {Tampereen YIiopisto},
isbn = {951-44-3111-1},