[b-hebrew] lexicography

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Mon Nov 17 19:45:50 EST 2003

On Monday 17 November 2003 12:53, Karl Randolph wrote:

Enjoy your lexicographical back-flips if you like; the fact is, the theory 
doesn't hold water.  I have pointed out the lameness of the responses to my 
examples and that's good enough for me.  I'm not going to waste any more 
energy on this discussion except to address this:

> I don’t understand why you are arguing so strenuously against the concept
> of core definitions when I have found it very useful, both for the study of
> modern languages as well as for the study of Biblical Hebrew.

First, why should I consider your experience the standard of judgment 
regarding a linguistic theory?  It could very well be that, had you used a 
more adequate theory, you would have found said theory even more useful.  
We'll never know.  Second, why shouldn't I argue against a theory that has so 
much evidence contrary to it?  I thought the goal was truth, not Karl 
Randolph's utility.  I have found it much more useful, "both for the study of 
modern languages as well as for the study of Biblical Hebrew," to chuck the 
"core meaning" notion and go with an approach that examines how people 
actually USE words and phrases at the synchronic level of the text I'm 
dealing with, and have found the practice of delving into etymology and such 
to try and force some "core meaning" onto a term to be, frankly, a waste of 
time.  As always, YMMV.  If you have the time and energy to pursue such 
things, more power to you, but be prepared to realize at some point that many 
of your "core definitions" are nothing more than constructs of your own 

That's all I have to say; you may have the last word if you wish.

Dave Washburn
Insert clever quote here (or not)

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