Publication details [#3805]

Cuyckens, Hubert, René Dirven and John Taylor. 2003. Cognitive Approaches to Lexical Semantics (Cognitive Linguistics Series 23). Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter .
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


Cognitive Linguistics can boast of refreshing insights in lexical semantics such as (i) the internal structure of lexical categories (prototype structure, family resemblance structure, radial network structure); (ii) the polysemous nature of lexical items and the cognitive principles (e.g., metaphor, metonymy, image-schema transformations) motivating the relations between the different senses of lexical items; and (iii) larger conceptual structures (e.g., metaphor research, frame semantics). While these traditional research interests still generate considerable interest, the contributions to the present volume give unmistakable evidence of new directions emerging in cognitive lexical semantic research. For one, the widely held view in Cognitive Linguistics that polysemy is the norm for lexical items, especially for those that occur with any frequency, has re-ignited the debate concerning the polysemous vs. monosemous representations of word meaning. The papers by Allwood, Janssen, Tuggy, and Zlatev testify to the fact that "polysemy" is currently a much more contested issue than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Second, the mechanisms that account for the relations between synchronic senses of a lexical item (e.g., metaphor, metonymy) are now also shown to account for the diachronic development of grammaticalized meanings (see the contributions by Lehti-Eklund and Uehara). Third, as evidenced by Rice's and Vandeloise's papers, acquisition data are brought to bear on the description of word meaning. Fourth, insights on prototypicality are undergoing further refinement; thus, Uehara applies the notion of prototype to parts of speech such as "Nominal Adjective" in Japanese, while Vanden Eynde goes into the relationship between prototypical category structure and hedging. Finally, Cognitive Lexical Semantics is looking into the relationship between lexical and constructional meaning (Michaelis) and between the meaning of words and the contexts in which they are encountered (Queller, Grondelaers and Geeraerts, Lehti-Eklund, Allwood, Vanden Eynde). (John Taylor, Hubert Cuyckens and René Dirven)

Articles in this volume