Lexicography and its interdisciplinary contacts, with special reference to Linguistics and Onomasiology

  • R.R.K Hartmann


The article attempts a first conspectus of what is known about interdisciplinary con-tacts between the fields of Lexicography and Linguistics, and in the process asks a range of fundamental questions on whether and how the subject matter is shared, and how we can improve mutual relations. Firstly, some opinions and arguments in the literature are reviewed, with par-ticular attention to (a) what criteria determine the status of a discipline, (b) how various relations between Lexicography and Linguistics can be modelled, (c) how practice and theory interact, and (d) what parallels there are between the two disciplines, in terms of such notions as description, codification and remediation. Secondly, views from the position of Linguistics are categorised his-torically and systematically, first by tracing the development from historical comparative or dia-chronic linguistics (philology) to structural-descriptive (synchronic) linguistics as well as applied linguistics, and then by combining five of the linguistic 'levels' with the three semiotic 'dimensions', and relating them to various interdisciplinary or problem-solving fields, such as sociolinguistics and computational linguistics. Thirdly, several points of view in Lexicography are presented, and an explicit framework is developed for displaying its place relative to its 'mother', 'sister' and 'daughter' disciplines as well as some of its 'data-supplying' disciplines, paying special attention to the problem of methodology. Fourthly, as a special case study, the territory of 'onomasiology' is discussed to illustrate the limitations and possibilities of various approaches to the analysis, de-scription and lexicographic presentation of synonym and antonym sets of vocabulary. The conclusion is reached that ways must be found to understand the interdisciplinary nature of Lexico-graphy, and a plea is made to move from mutual neglect to deliberate collaboration. (Several dia-grams are used to display networks of relations; bibliographical references focus on recent work and include representative reference works for the major disciplines mentioned.) Keywords: lexicography, metalexicography, theory and practice, de-scription, codification, remediation, application, interdisciplinary con-tacts, linguistics, onomasiology, mother disciplines, sister disciplines, daughter disciplines, data-supplying disciplines, methodology, reference science, semiotics

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eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904