Contrastive Lexical Semantics
Contrastive lexical semantics was the main topic of an International Workshop at the University of Münster in May, 1997. It was addressed from different perspectives, from the pragmatic perspective of a corpus-oriented approach as well as from the model-oriented perspective of sign theoretic linguistics. Whereas the rule-governed model-oriented approach is necessarily restricted to subsets of vocabulary, the pragmatic approach aims to analyse and describe the whole vocabulary-in-use. After the pragmatic turn, lexical semantics can no longer be seen as a discipline on its own but has to be developed as an integral part of a theory of language use. Essential features of individual languages can be discovered only by looking beyond the limits of our mother languages and including a contrastive perspective. Within a pragmatic, corpus-oriented approach essential new ideas are discussed, mainly the insight that single words can no longer be considered to be the lexical unit. It is the complex multi-word lexical unit a pragmatic approach has to deal with.
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