Lexicography and Linguistic Creativity

  • R Moon


Abstract: Conventionally, dictionaries present information about institutionalized words, phrases, and senses of words; more creative formations and usages are generally ignored. Yet text and corpus data provide ample evidence of creativity in language, showing that it is part of ordinary linguistic behaviour and indeed often systematic. This article looks at four specific types of lexical creativity in English: figurative meaning, word formation, idioms, and spelling. Focusing on selected examples, it discusses corpus evidence and then treatment in (principally) three recent monolingual dictionaries for learners of English. It argues that, even taking into account the pedagogical function and limited scope of these dictionaries, more could be said about creative aspects of lexis, and the systematicity of creative usage. This would be of benefit and interest to dictionary users, and empower them. Keywords: AFFIXATION, CORPUS, CREATIVITY, DICTIONARY COVERAGE, ENGLISH, FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE, IDIOMS, LEXICOGRAPHY, NEOLOGISM, NORMATIVENESS, SPELLING, WORD FORMATION

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904