Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced title.
This book unites lexicography with theoretical linguistics. The two fields
tend to ignore each other; lexicographers produce dictionaries, linguists
grammars. As a result grammars and dictionaries are often discordant and
sometimes glaringly incompatible. In "Systematic Lexicography" Juri
Apresjan shows the insights linguistics has to offer lexicography, and
equally that the achievements and challenges of lexicography provide a
rewarding field for linguistic enquiry.
The author presents the vocabulary of a language as a complicated system
reflecting a specific view of the world. He does so within an integrated
theory of language in which descriptions of grammatical and lexical
properties of language units, and the conceptualizations underlying them,
interact. Each lexeme, he argues, is a point of intersection of various
lexicographic types of lexemes-classes of lexemes with shared semantic,
syntactic, pragmatic, or communicative properties, that are sensitive to
the same rules, and which should thus be uniformly described in the
dictionary. When any lexeme is viewed against the whole set of linguistic
rules, new facets emerge, and these reveal, he shows, key characteristics
of words that dictionaries do not currently record.
Professor Apresjan not only presents an original, unified theory of
language inspired by the Moscow school of semantics. He also works out its
consequences and describes the problems he faced in applying it to the
lexicographic and grammatical description of Russian. The reader will find
that travelling with the author through Russian semantic space is both
enlightening and entertaining. The book's wealth of lexical facts,
illuminated by systematic thought, give it unique character and importance.
It will be of great interest to theoretical linguists and to all concerned
with the writing of dictionaries, as well as to semanticists and
students of Russian.