Academic journal article Atlantis, revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos

Javier E. Diaz Vera, Ed. 2002: A Changing World of Words

Academic journal article Atlantis, revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos

Javier E. Diaz Vera, Ed. 2002: A Changing World of Words

Article excerpt

Javier E. Diaz Vera, ed. 2002: A Changing World of Words. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. xx+610 pp.

In the last few decades, linguistic theories have shifted towards lexically- oriented postulates. This lexical revival has allowed the development of new linguistic frameworks that advocate the integration of paradigmatic and syntagmatic aspects in a systematic and complementary way. However, until very recently, the developments just outlined have hardly influenced research in Historical Linguistics.

A Changing World of Words is a collective volume edited by Javier Diaz Vera which brings together, under different perspectives, the recent research of a wide range of scholars in English Historical Linguistics. The book opens with an austere introduction by the editor ("Lexicography, Semantics and Lexicology in English Historical Linguistics"), intended to give the reader an overview of the principles underlying this work which comprises a number of significant contributions to the fields of English historical semantics, lexicology and lexicography. The papers collected in the volume offer a large number of specific interests and approaches to the historical analysis of the English lexicon. The different tendencies and main approaches of these contributions are synthesised in five sections.

The first section, "Dictionaries of Early English" (1-160), begins with a paper by Cortes Rodriguez and Mairal Uson, "A Preliminary Design for a Syntactic Dictionary of Old English on Semantic Principles" (3-46). In this paper, the authors put forward the guidelines for the elaboration of a syntactic dictionary of Old English (OE) verbs based on semantic domains. The methodology adopted for this dictionary project is based on the Functional Lexematic Model (FLM) that integrates Coseriu's Theory of Lexematics (Coseriu 1977) and Dik's Functional Grammar (Dik 1989) with two main objectives: the specification of the semantic architecture of the lexicon of a given language and the representation of knowledge based on the definitions found in standard dictionaries.

Since we have no direct access to meaning definitions, the authors focus on the analysis of syntactic information in their application of the FLM principles to the creation of a dictionary of OE verbs. In the second part of this paper, they propose a complete analysis of the internal structure of the field of change, which includes both semantic and syntactic information on the verbs under this heading.

Following these same principles, Diaz Vera proposes in his paper "The Semantic Architecture of the Old English Verbal Lexicon: A Historical-Lexicographical Proposal" (47-77) a whole internal reconstruction of the verbal predicates that form the lexical subdomain of touching in OE. This analysis takes into account the dictionary definitions found in standard OE dictionaries. By combining this information with morphosyntactic and etymological data, a reconstruction of the internal structure of this lexical subfield and its macronet connections with other domains is proposed, which aims at covering all the grammatical aspects of this section of the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary. The type of dictionary described here is thus to be seen not as a mere list of words and meanings, but rather as a grammar of OE verbs.

A yet different way of structuring a dictionary of OE is described by Pamela Faber and Juan Gabriel Vazquez Gonzalez. In their paper "Adapting Functional-Lexematic Methodology to the Structuring of OE Verbs: A Programmatic Proposal" (78-108), they explore the paradigmatic organisation of the OE lexicon. The authors use FLM principles to structure the lexical domain of possession, and specifically adapt FLM methodology to the analysis of OE. The paradigmatic structure of the verbs in this domain is informative in that it provides information about the evolution of the language through time. Furthermore, it underlines the importance of metaphor as a means of lexical creativity, and also encodes sociocultural relationships through its meaning parameters. …

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