Theories of Lexical Semantics offers a comprehensive overview of the major traditions of word meaning research in linguistics. In spite of the growing importance of the lexicon in linguistic theory, no overview of the main theoretical trends in lexical semantics is currently available. This book fills that gap by charting the evolution of the discipline from the mid nineteenth century to the present day. It presents the main ideas, the landmark publications, and the dominant figures of five traditions: historical-philological semantics, structuralist semantics, generativist semantics, neostructuralist semantics, and cognitive semantics. The theoretical and methodological relationship between the approaches is a major point of attention throughout the text: going well beyond a mere chronological enumeration, the book does not only describe the theoretical currents of lexical semantics, but also the undercurrents that have shaped its evolution.
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Dirk Geeraerts is Professor of Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Leuven and head of the research group Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics. He is the author of The Structure of Lexical Variation (1994), Diachronic Prototype Semantics (1997), and Words and Other Wonders (2006) and the editor, along with Hubert Cuyckens, of The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics (2007).
fills a crucial gap in the literature on word meaning...a long-awaited must-read in lexicological and semantic theory...should be background knowledge for anyone seriously committed to lexical work...a state-of-the-art overview awaited for decades, provides an indispensable reference in semantic theory * Clara Molina, The Linguist List *
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