Journal for Language Teaching

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Betekeniservaring en die betekenisgesag van die woordeboek

Willem J Botha


The lexicographical definition is the most significant entry in the dictionary article. In this regard it functions as teaching device – on a formal and informal level. The definition 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" meaning of a very specific word defined in a monolingual dictionary – mostly because the definition lacks a conceptual hierarchy. As a result, the definiton does not achieve its "learning aims". 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. Consequently, this article argues for a conceptual approach to meaning should the lexicographer wish to establish a constructive definition to support learning.

Key Words: lexicography, basic meaning, conceptual hierarchy

Sleutelwoorde: leksikografie, basiese betekenis, konseptuele hiërargie

Journal for Language Teaching Vol.38(1) 2004: 130-142
AJOL African Journals Online