Bac III      A. Michiels - Lexical Issues – Course Outline

Slot 1


-         the dictionary, a man-made, not a God-based, tool

-         importance of the lexicographical tradition (nature of the dictionary fields, type of info they house)

-         space-saving considerations

-         access restricted to alphabetical keys (guess where a specific multi-word unit is stored)

-         a book to be browsed v. a reference book where info is looked up

-         study of the example info field : from genuine, non-edited citations to totally made-up examples

-         dictionaries v. lexical data bases


Information fields in an ldb (lexical data base) : from totally closed to semi-closed to totally open

Degrees of formalizability and computability from text based on observational criteria

Study of the textual environment of a given lexical item : the KWIC line as a basic tool ; extending the KWIC line wherever necessary ; windowing software

Slot 2

Dictionaries and corpora ; the need to go beyond intuition and exploitation of previous lexicographical work
Definition of ‘balanced’ corpora (time, genre, social status, age, sex, geographical distribution of the informants, spoken as well as written lge, etc.)
Corpus-study tools : WordSmith, Intex, Thetis : a brief introduction
Regular expressions and local grammars in Intex

Slot 3

Dictionaries v. Thesauri

Thesauri on paper and thesauri as lexical dbs : a study of Roget’s in the two formats

Roget’s and Wordnet : ‘tip of the tongue’, free associations v. taxonomy-based, ‘scientific’ thesauri ; number of levels in the taxonomy
Thesaurus info in dictionaries (BT, NT, synonyms ; guide words in CIDE)
Retrieving thesauric links from dictionary definitions : the process-instrument link

Slot 4

The various fields of lexical data bases : degrees of formalization and computability ; observational correlates

            POS, Part of Speech, a controversial field

            Grammatical coding, the morpho-syntactic environment in a nutshell

            Definition, the specific problems related to the use of a controlled defining vocabulary (definitions of insulin as a test case)

            The ‘attractive’ power of examples : definition-based and example-based lexical worlds

LKP and Defidic : the query types ; collocational studies based on the collocate info field : typical fillers of argument and modifier slots

LKP in its various query modes : mwu queries and collocational potential queries (a study of the word car)
CLASS in Defidic

Slot 5

How to build and use an ldb ; access keys, types of info : perspectives (cf. Fragments sur le sens) ; retrieving information across the whole dic
The concept of a lexical entry ; entry status, reading status

Integrity of the word ; division into morphemes (The Constant Gardener and its de-fucking-plorable)

Mwus up to full clauses (The Constant Gardener and its spot of shit seems to have hit the proverbial fan)

Establishing and evaluating reading distinctions : ambiguity v. vagueness ; openness to semantic modulation
Regular polysemy and its representation in dictionary definitions : The Times as

-         an object on my desk, - the information it contains, - the paper as information provider,

-         its staff, the Board of Directors, the house where the Board sits, etc.

Slot 6

Word senses : Kilgariff’s paper, Hanks’paper

Hanks on the grammar of metaphors, i.e. elements derivable from a corpus-based study of ‘non-literal’ readings

Word senses as resulting from the lexicographer’s work, not as a given to be described – a word sense registering an attempt to put some order in the mass of available textual material ‘illustrating’ the environment of a given lexical item
Retrieving environments and building local grammars
Is there such a thing as a literal meaning or a literal reading ? (cf. Recanati and discussion in Fragments sur le sens)

Slot 7

Sentence in language v. sentence in law : getting at the data (lexical resources and corpus examples)
Analysing the data to build lexical nets
Article as an exercise : language v. law v. journalism v. trade

Slot 8

An operational definition of multi-word units : trusting morpho-syntactic manipulations and lexical variation
cf. Les lexies en TAL

Resistance to such syntactic manipulations as passivization and relativization, morpho-syntactic variations such as pluralization and degree

Lexical variation : near-synonyms to replace a mwu element, etc. cf. savoir sur le bout du doigt

Slot 9

Bilingual lexicography
isomorphism and non-isomorphism in the cutting up of semantic space : cell v. dent (cf. From Text to Dictionary)

Slot 10

Cultural and civilizational issues in Mwu formation and reading distinction
Quotations : full and partial citations ; study of the specific CIDE slot : rewritable as mwus ?
Trip the light fantastic : a study of frozenness

Creative use of language and manipulation of so-called frozen mwus (cf. Salman Rushdie’s distortion of shoot the breeze)

Slot 11

An analysis of dictionary definitions : the genus-differentiae paradigm
Genus retrieval, empty genus words

Items that cannot be described within the Aristotelian definition paradigm (cf. enfin and déjà in Fragments sur le sens)

Slot 12

Meaning v. sense ; primacy of sense ; meaning in lexical resources, in language understood as langue ;
sense in text, in language as parole, bases on textual interpretation
primacy of sense but sense is not derivable if meaning is unassignable ; avoiding vicious circles

Interpretation : mechanisms and limits : the individual interprets but society codifies
Private languages : an impossibility ; they are all derived products, built on an underlying conventionally codified source
The inscription of sense in lexical entries

Software to be used
WORDNET, a thesaurus exploration tool, downloadable from the Internet

LKP, a query tool for Defidic, a merge of two bilingual E-F dictionaries
INTEX, a corpus query tool, downloadable from the Internet

WORDSMITH TOOLS, a corpus-query tool

BNC Online, an online query tool for the British National Corpus

Documents  downloadable from the Internet


1) .htm format

A. Michiels,     Fragments sur le sens

Notes on Reading Distinctions

Les lexies en TAL

Bearing the Brunt of … the Havoc

From Text to Dictionary

Mwus in Ldg, Chapter 1

CLASS in Defi dictionaries

Sentence : law or linguistics ?

Article : law, linguistics, journalism, trade ?

Patrick Hanks, The Syntagmatics of Metaphors and Idioms

Nicolas Dufour, LKP User’s Guide

2) .pdf format
Adam Kilgariff, « I don’t believe in Word Senses »