dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Aug 23 12:18:46 EDT 2005
On Tuesday 23 August 2005 10:01, Karl Randolph wrote:
> As for lexemes having diverse meanings, while I don't rule
> that out, after studying a few foreign languages I have
> found that lexemes having diverse meanings are quite rare.
> That is not the same as recognizing that a lexeme may have
> such a broad meaning that it can be translated by several
> lexemes in another language, nor is it a claim that all
> lexemes have narrowly defined boundaries in meaning,
> rather a recognition that it is rare for a lexeme to have
> both one meaning and its near opposite, or even a
> completely unrelated one. Biblical Hebrew is no exception.
> (This is one area where I, as a lexicographer, disagree
> with Reinier de Blois and his lexicon according to
> semantic domains.)
I'm not sure what languages you have studied, but English apparently isn't one
of them. Consider the word "strike": it can mean to hit (strike the rock and
water will come out), to miss (in baseball), to begin something (strike up a
conversation), to stop something (go on strike), a positive event (strike a
bargain), a negative event (strike that from the record), to name just a few.
As I have said before, words mean what they mean because a language group or
subgroup chooses to use them that way. Words have no "inherent" or "root"
meaning and it is not unusual at all for a word (or lexeme, to use your term)
to have as many meanings as the users agree upon. So I'm afraid your basic
premise about lexemes is built on a fallacy, unfortunately.
"Well, if I'd wanted a safe life, I guess I wouldn't have
married a man who studies rocks." - Betty Armstrong (Fay Masterson)
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