Identification of homonyms in different types of dictionaries

Date

2015

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Type

Book chapter

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Homonyms are generally defined as distinct lexical items that happen to share an identical form but whose senses are etymologically or semantically unrelated (e.g. tattoo1 ‘ink mark on skin’ / tattoo2 ‘military drum signal’). In lexicography, however, the decision of when to split particular senses of a lexical form into different homonymous entries must take into account the function of the dictionary and the needs of its intended users. Consequently, different types of dictionaries adopt different homonymy identification policies. This chapter discusses how homonyms are identified and represented in different types of dictionaries, based on a review of 32 monolingual English dictionaries. In the general-purpose dictionaries surveyed, homonyms were generally identified on etymological or semantic grounds. In the special-purpose dictionaries and some of the dictionaries aimed at children and language learners, however, there was a tendency to avoid homonymous headwords and instead group even unrelated senses of a lexical form under the same headword.

Description

Keywords

Homonymy, lexicography

Citation

Koskela, A. (2015) Identification of homonyms in different types of dictionaries. In: Philip Durkin (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of English