French and Italian | French Lexicology / Lexicography
F677 | 26298 | Rottet, Kevin


From the marginal glosses of medieval manuscripts to the bilingual
lexicons of Renaissance classicists to today’s electronic and on-
line dictionaries such as the _Trésor de la langue française
informatisé_, dictionaries have been essential repositories and even
shapers of language. This course will survey major issues and
techniques in lexicology (the scientific study of words), and
lexicography (dictionary making). Looking first at lexicology, we
will consider topics such as componential analysis; semantic
primitives (do all languages have a common semantic core?);
prototype theory (why are some birds more “birdy” than others?);
semantic relations including problems of homonymy and polysemy,
metonymy and metaphor (in English, time is money; in French, money
is food) and how these are deployed creatively throughout the
lexicon of a language. Turning our attention to lexicography, we
will examine, inter alia, definitions (how are they constructed and
what is Aristotelian about them?), sense distinctions (do words
really have separate enumerable definitions or is this a convenient
fiction?), and problems of etymology, including Pierre Guiraud’s
structural etymology. We will examine the nature and techniques of
lexicographic evidence, from 19th century volunteer readers to
electronic concordances and corpora. Issues in the compilation of
bilingual dictionaries, dictionaries of collocations, learners’
dictionaries, and research on the dictionary user will also be
examined. FRIT F677 meets with LING L630