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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

Models of lexical meaning

From the book Word Knowledge and Word Usage

  • Paolo Acquaviva , Alessandro Lenci , Carita Paradis and Ida Raffaelli


Lexical semantics is concerned with modeling the meaning of lexical items. Its leading questions are how forms and meanings combine, what they mean, how they are used, and of course also how they change. The answers to these five questions make up the fundamental theoretical assumptions and commitments which underlie different theories of lexical semantics, and they form the basis for their various methodological choices. In this chapter, we discuss four main models of lexical meaning: relational, symbolic, conceptual and distributional. The aim is to investigate their historical background, their specific differences, the methodological and theoretical assumptions that lie behind those differences, the main strengths and the main challenges of each perspective.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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