A dictionary entry as a basic unit of lexicographic discourse

The place of the dictionary entry in the structure of language formations. Study of lexicographic material, author's and explanatory dictionaries. Consideration of a definition as a text. Combined by certain criteria definitions as a discourse.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 16.06.2018
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Словарная статья как элементарная единица лексикографического дискурса

A dictionary entry as a basic unit of lexicographic discourse

Резунова Мария Владимировна

Rezunova Maria Vladimirovna


В статье рассматривается место словарной статьи в структуре языковых образований. Исследования лексикографического материала, прежде всего авторских и толковых словарей, дают все основания рассматривать любую дефиницию как текст. Система объединенных по определенным критериям дефиниций выступает в качестве дискурса. Эту систему или задает автор словаря литературного языка, или отражает как уже заданную.

Ключевые слова: словарная статья, толковый словарь, текст, дискурс, лексикографический дискурс

Candidate of Philology, Docent, Head of the Department of Legal and Socio-Humanitarian Disciplines, RANEPA, Bryansk Branch (Russia)

Abstract: The article discusses the role of a dictionary entry in the structure of linguistic formations. The studies of lexicographical material, first and foremost, the writer's and explanatory dictionaries, give every reason to consider any definitions as texts. A system of the definitions, combined by certain criteria, acts as a discourse. This system is either set by the author of the literary language dictionary, or is reflected as already specified.

Keywords: dictionary entry, (explanatory) dictionary, text, discourse, lexicographic discourse

In the middle of the last century, the concept of the `discourse' was introduced in science, the concept not being fully studied so far, not having a clear unambiguous definition.

According to E.S. Kubryakova, the term `discourse' implies the branched knowledge structure with attainments of speech and language behavior being its indispensable components. One person or two, or many more participants can be its sources. It can and should be considered in all social, cultural and personal pragmatic conditions of its origination, during its course, displaying the dependence on these factors. And the speech, being made with the specially chosen language means, results in some new substance expressing the intentions of its sender and impacting on other communicants, as well as reflecting and generating some special world (mental formation), which may be represented in the form of a text [5, с. 123].

The concept of the `lexicographic discourse' has been introduced quite recently. As A.L. Golovanevsky notes, a lexicographic text being a variant of a text coincides with a lexicographic discourse, and its varieties are determined by a lexicographic genre [3, с. 9].

A lexicographic discourse is a type of communicative interaction, in which meanings of words are given as “knowledge quanta” about the world in order to maximize the explanatory effect; and it is implemented in a number of sustainable genre forms (dictionary entries) [8, с. 22]. The basic unit of the lexicographic discourse is a dictionary entry, giving a definition of the word.

Despite the fact that the term `lexicographic discourse' is often used in lexicographical researches, such phrases as `discursive nature of a dictionary', `discursive model of a dictionary' are used synonymously. The material of a dictionary entry is called `a text'. There are also such terms as `linguistic and cultural discourse', `ideological discourse' as regards an explanatory dictionary. This could be explained by the lack of scientific basis of this linguistic term. Therefore, in our opinion, it is necessary to consider a dictionary entry through the prism of two concepts: the text and the discourse.

In literary theory, a text is any object that can be “read,” whether this object is a work of literature, a street symbol, an arrangement of buildings in a city block, or some clothing styles. It is a coherent set of signs that transfers some kind of informative message [6]. This set of signs is considered in terms of the informative message's content, rather than in terms of its physical form or the medium in which it is represented.

In the scientific work by I.R. Galperin “Text as an Object of Linguistic Researches”, the text is defined as “a completed product of speech process, objectified in the form of a written document, consisting of the title and some special units (extra-phrasal unities) combined by different types of lexical, grammatical, logical, stylistic relations, and having a definite intentionality and pragmatic setting” [2, с. 18]. This definition clearly includes such feature criteria of the text as completeness, a written form, a title, a number of extra-phrasal unities, goal-setting and programmatic setting.

However, according to E.S. Kubryakova, there are a number of texts we can described as having never been completed by the authors and are left unfinished. And in addition to the written texts there are texts of oral statements, as well as the texts recorded with sound-recording equipment for listening to. And not all the texts have titles, or not all the texts can be represented as a sequence of extra-phrasal unity [4, с. 72].

Therefore, in this respect, the linguist thinks that it is more reasonable to take for the basis of the category of the text its comprehension as “an information self-sufficient speech transaction with distinctly formed goal-setting which is in its intention focused on an addressee”. According to E.S. Kubryakova, `the information self-sufficiency' means this criterion of the text that gives the impression of its substantiveness, semantic completeness and pragmatic integrity. `The addressee-focus' implies concentrating on a certain group of people [4, с. 74].

Hence, the lexicographical material of any dictionary is a text, since the mission of explanatory dictionaries is transmission of maximum information on a word to the reader or the user of the dictionary.

Now let's consider the category of the discourse, in respect of the term of the text. There is no clear and generally recognized definition of discourse. It is considered from the position of pragmalinguistics, formally or structurally oriented linguistics, sociolinguistics, etc.

Therefore, discourse is defined as an interactive activity of communication participants, and exchange of information, and exerting influence on each other, and the use of different communicative strategies, and their verbal and non-verbal implementation in communication; as an essential component of social and cultural interaction, the characteristics of which are the interests, objectives and styles; and as an actual spoken text (Teun A. van Dijk); as the language above the sentence or phrase (Michael Stubbs), equivalently to the concept of the “speech”, i.e. any concrete statement; as a unit superior to a phrase in its size; as an impact of the statements of its addressee taking into account the situation of the utterance (within the pragmatics); as a conversation being the basic speech type; as use of language units, their speech actualization; as a type of statements limited socially or ideologically; as a theoretical construct serving to study conditions of the text formation (Patrick Sйriot); as two or more sentences in semantic relations with each other (V.A. Zvegintsev); as a coherent text together with extra-linguistic factors (pragmatic, sociocultural, psychological and others); a text taken in the event aspect; the speech, considered as a purposeful, social action, and as a component involved in the interaction of people and mechanisms of their consciousness (cognitive processes) (N.D. Arutyunova); as a text plus a situation (H.Widdowson, J.Цstman, T.Virtanen) [7, с. 86-90].

However, despite such diversity of views on the nature of discourse, in all of them there is a tendency to connect the text and the discourse. These concepts are inseparable: the text is a “body”, the language material of the discourse. The latter is impossible without the text. From cognitive and linguistic points of view, the concepts of the discourse and the text are in cause-and-effect relationship: the text is created in the discourse and is its brainchild [4, с. 78].

Of course, there is a question: Is every text a discourse? The answer is affirmative, if the text is the end product of socialized and social communicative (discursive) activities.

As to a vocabulary entry of an explanatory dictionary, especially of the dictionary of the writer's language, a definition of a word is the author's creation. No meaning is inherent in the word initially, invariably and absolutely. Words acquire some meaning only through their use and understanding in specific situations. Therefore, to give the definition of any word, a lexicographer has to become familiar with all numerous uses of this word.

Besides, to formulate the meanings of the word more distinctly and clearly, and to show its contextual syntactic relations with other words, illustrative material (quotations, sentences taken from the collected samples, or any of the author's examples) is often included in the dictionary entry.

For instance, in The Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language, commonly known as Dahl's Explanatory Dictionary, the linguistic illustrations are presented by proverbs, sayings, facetious sayings, and riddles. The Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language, also called just Ushakov's Dictionary, is characterized by the illustrations in the form of quotations from the literary works, political literature and newspapers of the mid-twentieth century, as well as the examples of the author himself.

In the one-volume Dictionary of the Russian Language released with the names of two co-authors, Sergei Ivanovich Ozhegov and Natalia Shvedova, illustrations are short phrases or word combinations, including in the form as well as proverbs, sayings, catch phrases, colloquial and figurative expressions, etc.

One should distinguish between the author's explanatory dictionary and the writer's dictionary (the dictionary of the writer's language). The latter include such dictionaries as the Dictionary of Pushkin's Language, the Dictionary of Dostoevsky's language, the Dictionary of Igor Severyanin's Neologisms, the Dictionary of Ivan Bunin's Epithets and others. For instance, in the Dictionary of Pushkin's Language there are more than 20 000 words of the Russian language from the literary and journalistic works of A.S. Pushkin, as well as from his letters and documents. Every word has its own dictionary entry, which shows the number of this word used in the texts of Pushkin, formulates its meaning, illustrates its usage with quotes and provides a full list of this word use. Besides, it contains its grammatical forms and references to all texts in which the word is used. Separately the entry gives the functioning of words in phraseological combinations.

So in the writer's dictionaries, in contrast to the explanatory ones, the meanings of the words are ascertained directly from the texts of the writer. The writer's poetry and prose represents a complex system of texts. And the illustrative material, which confirms the meaning of every word of the writer, reflects the same complex system. Thus, taking into consideration the statement “the text is created in discourse” (E.S. Kubryakova), it appears that the “texts-illustrations” system of the writer's dictionary is based on the system of discourses of this writer and, accordingly, reflects it.

If we compare the word representation in the explanatory dictionaries of different epochs, different languages, we will observe that in the dictionary entry the semantic component is often beyond the scope of the semantics proper and it tends to reflect the subjective understanding of a particular concept. Especially it concerns the dictionary entries of the cultural and ideological nature. In this respect we can use the term `the lexicographical discourse'.

Thus, taking into account all numerous definitions of the discourse, the lexicographical discourse is comprehended as a metalinguistic text containing both semantic and pragmatic information. The latter is manifested either in the meaning interpretation (and it bears the author's attitude to this concept), or in quotation and illustrative material of the dictionary entry, being the basic unit of the lexicographic discourse [9, с. 48].

In conclusion we can say that there is every reason to consider dictionaries, first and foremost the writer's and explanatory ones, as texts and discourses. Any definition is a text in its nature. A system of the definitions, combined by certain criteria, acts as a discourse. This system is either set by the author of the literary language dictionary, or is reflected as already specified.

dictionary entry lexicographic discourse

Список литературы

1. Арутюнова Н. Д. Дискурс // Языкознание. Большой энциклопедический словарь. - М.: Большая Российская энциклопедия, 2000. - С. 136-137.

2. Гальперин И.Р. Текст как объект лингвистического исследования. - М., 2008. - 144 с.

3. Голованевский A.Л. Концепт «Слово» в религиозном, лексикографическом и художественном дискурсе // Русское слово в языке и речи: доклады Общероссийской конференции / Брян. гос. пед. ун-т им. И.Г. Петровского; под ред. докт. филол. наук, проф. А.Л. Голованевского. - Брянск, 2000. - С. 7-13.

4. Кубрякова Е.С. О тексте и критериях его определения // Текст. Структура и семантика. Т. 1. - М., 2001. - С. 72-81.

5. Кубрякова E.C. О термине «дискурс» и стоящей за ним структуре знания // Язык. Личность. Текст: c6. ст. к 70-летию Т.М. Николаевой. - М.: Языки славянских культур, 2005. - С. 23-33.

6. Лотман Ю.М. Структура художественного текста. - СПб.: «Искусство - СПБ», 1998. - 285 с.

7. Макаров М.Л. Основы теории дискурса. - М.: «Гнозис», 2003. - 280 с.

8. Плотникова А.М. Новые тенденции в русском лексикографическом дискурсе // Вестник Новосибирского государственного педагогического университета. - 2014. - № 3 (19). - С. 22-29.

9. Резунова М.В. Словарная статья: текст или дискурс? // Известия Волгоградского государственного педагогического университета. - 2008. - №10. - С. 47-49.

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