Publication details [#2755]

Botha, Willem J. 2003. Conceptual hierarchies in the lexicographical definition. 12 pp.
Publication type
Unpublished manuscript
Publication language
Place, Publisher


The lexicographical definition is the most significant entry in the dictionary article. It relies on the examination of real language usage. The lexicographer creates the relevant definition as a result of citations taken from spoken and written language. The accumulated data (citations) are scrutinized in different ways in order to compile the appropriate definitions. Nevertheless, dictionary users are very often stranded when they try to understand the "basic" (prototypical) meaning of a very specific word defined in a monolingual dictionary - mostly because the definition lacks a conceptual hierarchy. This phenomenon is well illustrated when the meaning of the word transform(ation) is examined within its applicable semantic domains. In order to establish its prototypical meaning, etymological and contextual variables are crucial semantic determinants which should be taken into account. In this regard the experiential foundation of its meaning should be related to image schematic features. It will be shown that conceptual complexities arise when the word is linked to different contextual uses. (Willem Botha)