Lexical Semantics

Dirk Geeraerts

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Lexical Semantics

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
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Lexical semantics is the study of word meaning. Two issues of demarcation are relevant in this respect. First, although the definition of lexical semantics may suggest otherwise, morphological semantics (the study of the meaning of complex words as a function of the meaning of their parts and the way they are constructed) is usually considered a separate field from lexical semantics proper. Morphological semantics is not envisaged by the present article. Second, the study of the meaning of words does not exhaust the linguistic study of words: topics including lexical variation across language varieties, borrowing, phraseology, or the origin of words are distinct from the study of word meaning, but like lexical semantics, they form part of the broader field of lexicology Again, lexicology at large lies beyond the scope of the present chapter, although this article occasionally refers to publications that are situated at the level of lexicology rather than that of lexical semantics in the strict sense. Apart from an overview of general resources, the chapter looks at three aspects of lexical semantics: the theoretical approaches that have dominated the discipline throughout its development, the research topics that are high on the agenda of lexical semantics, and a few connections with other fields of inquiry.

Article.  9367 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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