RALI-OLST Weekly Talks

Reconsidering Prototypical Sense Ordering and Its Applicability in Learners' Dictionaries

Lu Huaguo (louisluhuaguo <at> 163 (point) com)

Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology

Wednesday 18 June 2014 at 11:30 AM

Salle C-9019, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx

As prototype theory of category is said to offer a better account of sense relations, some researchers advocate that senses should be arranged by prototypicality to facilitate holistic learning of polysemous items. However, compilers of learners’ dictionaries tend to adopt a taxonomic approach to polysemy for the sake of accessibility and arrange senses linearly or hierarchically due to the sequential and flat structure of dictionary text. In addition, the meaning-centered configuration of lexicographic data (usage notes, collocations, illustrative sentences, etc.) distances senses from each other, and makes it even harder for users to perceive the implicit relatedness. Results from user studies also show that most users read only some of the senses, and that relatedness between senses often goes unnoticed. Thus, the assumed holistic learning of polysemous items rarely happens on the part of dictionary users. This presentation proposes that semantic sketches be drawn to represent the complex relations between senses, and to complement such devices as frequency sense ordering and guidewords adopted by mainstream learners’ dictionaries.

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