Author: Juri Derenick Apresjan
Translator: Kevin Windle
Paperback: ISBN: 0199554250 9780199554256 Pages: 306 Price: U.S. $ 45.00
Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced title.
This book unites lexicography with theoretical linguistics. The two fields tend to ignore each other; lexicographers produce dictionaries, linguists grammars. As a result grammars and dictionaries are often discordant and sometimes glaringly incompatible. In "Systematic Lexicography" Juri Apresjan shows the insights linguistics has to offer lexicography, and equally that the achievements and challenges of lexicography provide a rewarding field for linguistic enquiry.
The author presents the vocabulary of a language as a complicated system reflecting a specific view of the world. He does so within an integrated theory of language in which descriptions of grammatical and lexical properties of language units, and the conceptualizations underlying them, interact. Each lexeme, he argues, is a point of intersection of various lexicographic types of lexemes-classes of lexemes with shared semantic, syntactic, pragmatic, or communicative properties, that are sensitive to the same rules, and which should thus be uniformly described in the dictionary. When any lexeme is viewed against the whole set of linguistic rules, new facets emerge, and these reveal, he shows, key characteristics of words that dictionaries do not currently record.
Professor Apresjan not only presents an original, unified theory of language inspired by the Moscow school of semantics. He also works out its consequences and describes the problems he faced in applying it to the lexicographic and grammatical description of Russian. The reader will find that travelling with the author through Russian semantic space is both enlightening and entertaining. The book's wealth of lexical facts, illuminated by systematic thought, give it unique character and importance. It will be of great interest to theoretical linguists and to all concerned with the writing of dictionaries, as well as to semanticists and students of Russian.