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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 19, 2018

Cognitive descriptions in a corpus-based dictionary of German paronyms

  • Petra Storjohann EMAIL logo


This paper discusses changes of lexicographic traditions with respect to approaches to meaning descriptions towards more cognitive perspectives. I will uncover how cognitive aspects can be incorporated into meaning descriptions based on corpus-driven analysis. The new German Online dictionary “Paronyme − Dynamisch im Kontrast” (Storjohann 2014; 2016) is concerned with easily confused words such as effektiv/effizient, sensibel/sensitiv. It is currently in the process of being developed and it aims at adopting a more conceptual and encyclopaedic approach to meaning by incorporating cognitive features. As a corpus-guided reference work it strives to adequately reflect ideas such as conceptual structure, categorisation and knowledge. Contrastive entries emphasise aspects of usage, comparing conceptual categories and indicate the (metonymic) mapping of knowledge. Adaptable access to lexicographic details and variable search options offer different foci and perspectives on linguistic information, and authentic examples reflect prototypical structures. Some of the cognitive features are demonstrated with the help of examples. Firstly, I will outline how patterns of usage imply conceptual categories as central ideas instead of sufficiently logical criteria of semantic distinction. In this way, linguistic findings correlate better with how users conceptualise language. Secondly, it is pointed out how collocates are treated as family members and fillers in contexts. Thirdly, I will demonstrate how contextual structure and functions are included summarising referential information. Details are drawn from corpus data, they are usage-based linguistic patterns illustrating conversational interaction and semantic negotiations in contemporary public discourse. Finally, I will outline consultation routines which activate different facets of structural knowledge, e.g. through changes of the ordering of information or through the visualisation of semantic networks.

Published Online: 2018-1-19
Published in Print: 2017-12-20

© 2018 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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