Types of Language Nomination: Universals, Typology and Lexicographical Relevance

By November 17, 2016,
Page 237-247
Author František Čermák
Title Types of Language Nomination: Universals, Typology and Lexicographical Relevance
Abstract Against the background of the Prague tradition of research into language nomination, known through V. Mathesius, some basic aspects ofthe field are examined. S. Ullmann's remarks [1966] have been taken up and examined statistically on ten common nouns in English, Finnish and Czech (head, nose, eye, tongue, heart; dog, cat; tree, stone, water and their counterparts); data for them have been taken from very large dictionaries in each case. For its framework, three of Skalička's five universal language types, isolationg, agglutinative an inflectional, have been chosen, while introflectional and polysynthetic types had to have been left aside, for a number of reasons. From the point of view of the language nomination, the fourth and major type, that of collocation (combination), had to be left out, too. It was found that the extent of polysemy is smallest for inflectional languages, being largest for isolating languages. On the other hand, derivation is represented in an almost converse way, having a very small representation for an isolating language, while being very large in an inflectional language. Finally, it is the agglutinative language which has the highest use of compounding as against its limited use in English and Czech, which are basically similar. However, to round up the picture, the fourth type ofnomination has to be studied, too. On the basis offigures obtained, the traditional, rather vague, statements can thus be given some basis and the most salient oppositions in each of the languages clarified: polysemy versus derivation (English and Czech) and compinding versus derivation (Finnish). Two tentative universals, referring back to Ullmann, could be reformutated.
Session Lexicological Issues of Lexicographical Relevance
author = {František Čermák},
title = {Types of Language Nomination: Universals, Typology and Lexicographical Relevance},
pages = {237-247},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 10th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2002},
month = {aug},
date = {13-17},
address = {København, Denmark},
editor = {Anna Braasch and Claus Povlsen},
publisher = {Center for Sprogteknologi},
isbn = {87-90708-09-1},