Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

The Application of the prototype theory in lexicographic practice: A proposal of a model for lexicographic treatment of polysemy

Ana Halas


The aim of this paper is to point to fundamental implications of the prototype theory for lexicographic practice using them as a solid foundation for developing and proposing a model for systematic, consistent, precise and, above all, reliable treatment of polysemy in dictionaries. The main requirement of such a model is to make transparent the main features of a polysemous structure including its hierarchical organization, mutual relatedness of senses based on family resemblance and motivated derivation of senses. The proposed model includes three most chal-lenging but key aspects of lexicographic treatment of polysemy: sense discrimination, sense defin-ing and structure and organization of a dictionary entry. The prototype-based view of a polyse-mous structure is illustrated with a diagram representing a proposed upgrade of the radial set model introduced by Brugman and Lakoff (1988) and providing a pattern for tailoring a dictionary entry for a polysemous word. After practical aspects of the proposed model are explained in detail, an illustration follows setting forth a sample entry for a highly polysemous verb formed according to the proposed model. A solid theoretical foundation of the model is expected to ensure its practi-cal efficiency primarily concerning quick and easy detection and understanding of senses.

Keywords: Lexicology, lexicography, cognitive linguistics, prototype theory, polysemy, dictionary entry, model, sense discrimination, sense defining, entry structure

AJOL African Journals Online