Workshop idea

Why study lexical-semantic paradigms?


For decades, lexical semantic research was bound up with structuralist notions of language, leaving it rather divorced from trends in syntax, semantics and pragmatics in the 1970s and 1980s. Lexical semantic (or lexicological) studies to this point often focussed on paradigmatic relations such as synonymy and antonymy. As the lexicon became more central in approaches to syntax and related areas and as corpus methodologies and computational requirements developed, the nature of lexical semantics has changed, as have notions of what a mental lexicon is. Consequently lexical-semantic paradigms have been pushed out of the field's centre stage. For example, whereas the bulk of Cruse's (1986) textbook Lexical Semantics (CUP) concerned synonymy, opposition and hyponymy, twenty years later CUP's forthcoming textbook (Lexical Meaning by ML Murphy) devotes only one of 14 chapters to the subject. This raises the question that is central to this workshop: are lexical-semantic paradigms relevant to modern linguistics?

Some questions