From linguistic theory to lexicographic practice
Distributional restrictions based on word content and their place in dictionaries (Michele Prandi)
Michele Prandi Distributional restrictions based on word content and their place in dictionaries Abstract: The aim of this paper is to sketch a typology of the different families of restrictions that constrain the distribution of conceptual contents within the structure of consistent sentences. Consistency criteria, traditionally named selection restrictions, constrain the access to processes and properties by the great categories of beings cir- cumscribed by a shared natural ontology: for instance, human beings are allowed to dream or speak, living beings to be born and die, whereas inanimate nature is barred to all these processes. Lexical solidarities (Porzig 1934) are language-specific lexical restrictions: for instance, German draws a line between eating by human beings – essen – and by animals: fressen. Finally, there are cognitive restrictions, motivated by shared models about the typical structure of empirical facts: for instance, streams flow, trees bear fruits, birds fly. These different layers of restrictions form a hierarchy. Consisten- cy criteria circumscribe from outside the area of consistent concepts, the same that is organised by both language-specific lexical structures and cognitive models. Lexical solidarities draw subtler distinctions among consistent concepts: murder, for instance, is kept distinct from kill in that it requires a human being as a direct object. This sup- plementary restriction is internal to the area of animate beings that circumscribes the consistent objects of kill and the consistent subjects of die. Cognitive models simplify the structure of empirical experience but are in turn consistent: it is possible to see or imagine birds that...
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