Lexical semantics

Robert E. MacLaury
Table of contents

Lexical semantics is the analysis of linguistic meaning among words, affixes, and stock phrases, especially of the semantic relations that integrate such lexical items into a system, domain, conventional image, syntagma, or discourse. Herein we sketch the expansion of lexical semantic models during the maturation of this field, dividing labor with other accounts. McCarthy (1991) summarizes British approaches and the lexical semantics of syntagmatic collocation. Geeraerts (1988, 1994) traces roots of lexical semantics to psychologically oriented prestructuralist philology; he contrasts lexical semantic branches in terms of their views on language, choices of data, and principles of explanation. All of us together neglect certain contributors, for whom it would take a book to do justice.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Basilius, H.
1952Neo-Humboldtian ethnolinguistics. Word 8: 95–105. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Van Benthem, J. & A. Ter Meulen
(eds.) 1985Generalized Quantifiers in Natural Language. Foris. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Berlin, B. & P. Kay
1969Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. University of California Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Black, M.
1937Vagueness: an exercise in logical analysis. Philosophy of Science 4: 427–455. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Bolinger, D.
1961Generality, Gradience, and the All-or-None. Mouton.Google Scholar
1965The atomization of meaning. Language 41: 555–573. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
1972Degree Words. Mouton. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Burgess, D. , W. Kempton & R.E. Maclaury
1993Tarahumara color modifiers: category structure presaging evolutionary change. American Ethnologist 10: 133–149. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Casad, E. & R.W. Langacker
1985“inside” and “outside” in Cora grammar. International Journal of American Linguistics 51: 247–281. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Chomsky, N.
1957Syntactic Structures. Mouton.Google Scholar
1965Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Google Scholar
Coleman, M.I.T.L.
1975The case of the vanishing presupposition. Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 79–89. Berkeley Linguistics Society.Google Scholar
Dahlgren, K.
1985Social terms and social reality. Folia Linguistica Historica 6: 107–125.Google Scholar
Duczmal, S.
1979A contrastive semantic analysis of colour adjectives in Polish and English. Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics 9: 181–191.Google Scholar
Fillmore, C.J.
1968aVerbs of judging: an exercise in semantic description. In C.J. Fillmore & D.T. Langendoen (eds.), Studies in Linguisic Semantics: 272–289. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
1968bThe case for case. In E. Bach & R.T. Harmes (eds.), Universals in Linguistic Theory: 1–90. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
1975An alternative to checklist theories of meaning. Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 123–131.Google Scholar
1978Topics in lexical semantics. In R.W. Cole (ed.) Current Issues in Linguistic Theory: 76–138. Indiana.Google Scholar
Freidrich, P.
1969On the meaning of the Tarascan suffixes of space. International Journal of American Linguistics 35, Memoir 23: 1–43.Google Scholar
Geeraerts, D.
1988Cognitive Grammar and the history of lexical semantics. In B. Rudzka-Ostyn (ed.), Topics in Cognitive Linguistics: 647–677. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1994Lexical semantics. In R.E. Asher & J.M.Y. Simpson, The Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics: 2161–2164. Pergamon.Google Scholar
Goodenough, W.H.
1956Componential analysis and the study of meaning. Language 32: 195–216. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
(ed.) 1964Explorations in Cultural Anthropology. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
Heider, E.R.
1972Probabilities, sampling, and ethnographic method: the case of Dani colour names. Man 7: 448–466. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Hersh, H.M. & A. Carmazza
1976Fuzzy set approach to modifiers and vagueness in natural language. Journal of Experimental Psychology, General 105: 254–276. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Hill, J.H. & R.E. Maclaury
1995The Terror of Montezuma: Aztec history, vantage theory, and the category of “person.” In J.R. Taylor & R.E. Maclaury (eds.) Language and the Cognitive Construal of the World: 277–329. Mouton. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ipsen, G.
1924Der alte Orient und die Indogermanen. In J. Friedrich, J. Hofmann & W. Horn (eds.) Stand und Aufgaben der Sprachwissenschaft. Festschrift für Streitberg: 200–237. C. Winter.Google Scholar
1932Der neue Sprachbegriff. Zeitschrift für Deutschkunde 46: 1–18.Google Scholar
Janda, L.A.
1988The mapping of elements of cognitive space onto grammatical relations: an example from Russian verbal prefixation. In B. Rudzka-Ostyn (ed.) Topics in Cognitive Linguistics: 327–343. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Katz, J. & J. Fodor
1963The structure of a semantic theory. Language 39: 170–210. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kay, P.
1978Tahitian words for race and class. In Rank and Status in Polynésia and Mélanésia: Essays in Honor of Professor Douglas Oliver: 81–93. Musée de l’Homme. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kempton, W.
1978Category grading and taxonomic relations: a mug is a sort of a cup. American Ethnologist 5: 44–65. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1981The Folk Classification of Ceramics: A Study of Cognitive Prototypes. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Labov, W.
1978Denotational structure. Papers from the 14th Annual Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: Parasession on the Lexicon: 220–260.Google Scholar
Lakoff, G.
1973Hedges: a study in meaning criteria and the logic of fuzzy concepts. Journal of Philosophical Logic 2: 458–508. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson
1980Metaphors We Live By. Chicago.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Langacker, R.W.
1990Subjectification. Cognitive Linguistics 1: 5–38. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Lehrer, A.
1974Semantic Fields and Lexical Structure. North-Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
Lehrer, A. & E.F. Kittay
1993Frames, Fields, and Contrasts: New Essays in Semantic and Lexical Organization. L. Erlbaum.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Loundsbury, F.G.
1964A formal account of Crow- and Omaha-type kinship terminologies. In W. Goodenough (ed.): 351–393.Google Scholar
Lyons, J.
1995Linguistic Semantics: An Introduction. Cambridge. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Maclaury, R.E.
1991Prototypes revisited. Annual Review of Anthropology 20: 55–74. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1993Prototype Bibliography, 1971–1991. MS available from author.Google Scholar
1997Color and Cognition in Mesoamerica: Constructing Categories as Vantages. Texas.Google Scholar
Mccarthy, M.J.
1991Lexis and lexicology. In K. Malmkjær & J.M. Anderson, The Linguistics Encyclopedia: 298–305. Routledge.Google Scholar
Mckaughan, H. & R. Austerlitz
1959Semantic components of pronoun systems: Maranao and Gyliak. Word 15: 101–109. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Öhman, S.
1953Theories of the “linguistic field.” Word 9: 123–134. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Reuning, K.
1941‘Joy’ and ‘Freud’: A Comparative Study of the Linguistic Field of Pleasurable Emotions in English and German. Swathmore College Book Store.Google Scholar
Rosch, E.H.
1973On the internal structure of perceptual and semantic categories. In T.E. Moore (ed.) Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Language: 111–144. Academic Presscademic Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1975Cognitive reference points. Cognitive Psychology 7: 532–547. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1978Principles of categorization. In E.H. Rosch & B.B. Lloyd (eds.), Cognition and Categorization, 28–48. L. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Rosch, E.H. & C.B. Mervis
1975Family resemblances: studies in the internal structure of categories. Cognitive Psychology 7: 573–605. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ross, J.R.
1974A fake NP squish. In C.-J. Bailey & R. Shuy (eds.) New Ways of Analyzing Variation in English: 96–140. Georgetown.Google Scholar
Sanjek, R.
1971Brazilian racial terms: some aspects of meaning and learning. American Anthropologist 77: 1126–1143. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Sapir, E.
1944Grading: a study in semantics. Philosophy of Science 11: 93–116. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Taylor, J.R.
1989Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in Linguistic Theory. Clarendon.Google Scholar
Trier, J.
1931Der deutsche Wortschatz im Sinnbezirk des Verstandes. C. Winter.Google Scholar
1934Das sprachliche Feld. Neue Jahrbücher für Wissenschaft und Jugendbildung 10: 428–449.Google Scholar
Tylor, S.A.
(ed.) 1969Cognitive Anthropology. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
Ullmann, S.
1957 [1951]The Principles of Semantics: A Linguistic Approach to Meaning. Blackwell.Google Scholar
Wierzbicka, A.
1996Semantics: Primes and Universals. Oxford.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Zedah, L.A.
1972A fuzzy-set-theoretic interpretation of linguistic hedges. Journal of Cybernetics 2: 4–34. DOI logoGoogle Scholar