Polysemy and Homonymy: Challenges Relating to Lexical Entries in the Sesotho sa Leboa?English Bilingual Dictionary

Lexikos. 2011;17 DOI 10.5788/17--537


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Lexikos

ISSN: 1684-4904 (Print); 2224-0039 (Online)

Publisher: Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal-WAT

Society/Institution: Stellenbosch University

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Philology. Linguistics | Language and Literature: Languages and literature of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania | Language and Literature: Germanic languages. Scandinavian languages

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English, German, Dutch, French, Afrikaans

Full-text formats available: PDF



V.M. Mojela


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 7 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p class="AP">Abstract: This article outlines the challenges relating to the lemmatization of the lexical items which are either polysemous or homonymous, as experienced during the compilation of the <em>Sesotho sa Leboa–English Bilingual Dictionary</em>. These problems can be ascribed to a lack of objectivity result-ing from an inadequate knowledge regarding the etymological relationships of the meanings of some lexical items which are subsequently misclassified as either homonyms or polysemous words. This often causes improper lexical entries in dictionaries, i.e. polysemous words may be lemma-tized as homonyms and vice versa.</p> <p class="SP">To unambiguously distinguish between lexical items which are either homonyms or polyse-mous words, lexicographers should in this regard consider the criteria suggested by scholars:</p> <p class="L1P">— In accordance with the relatedness/unrelatedness criterion, the lexicographer will need to determine the extent to which the lexical items are related before entering them in the dic-tionary.</p> <p class="L1P">— The etymological criterion will help the lexicographer to determine the relatedness of the lexical items for inclusion in the dictionary according to their historical connection.</p> <p class="EP">Using these criteria to lemmatize a lexical item properly in the dictionary, the lexicographer will be required to determine whether a lexical item can be regarded as one word with more than one meaning (a polysemous word), or as two different lexical items which have the same spelling (homonyms). To make this distinction, the lexicographer will need to research the historical back-ground of the lexical item. Even though these criteria are important aids for distinguishing polysemy and homonymy, the problem of subjectivity is not altogether removed since the criteria do not specify the level or degree of relatedness/unrelatedness at which the lexical item(s) can be said to be polysemous or homonymous.</p> <p>Keywords: SEMANTIC SHIFT, POLYSEMY, HOMONYMY, MEANING, SENSE RELA-TION, LEXICAL ITEM, ETYMOLOGY, METAPHOR, METAPHORIC SENSE, EUPHEMISM, LEMMATIZATION</p> <p class="AP">Opsomming: Polisemie en homonimie: Uitdagings betreffende leksikale inskrywings in die <em>Sesotho sa Leboa–English Bilingual Dictionary</em>. Die artikel skets die uitdagings betreffende die lemmatisering van leksikale items wat óf poliseem óf homo-niem is soos teëgekom gedurende die samestelling van die <em>Sesotho sa Leboa–English Bilingual Dic-tionary</em>. Hierdie probleme kan toegeskryf word aan 'n gebrek aan objektiwiteit wat die gevolg is van 'n onvoldoende kennis aangaande die etimologiese verwantskappe van die betekenisse van sommige leksikale items wat gevolglik foutiewelik geklassifiseer word as óf homonieme óf poli-seme woorde. Dit veroorsaak dikwels verkeerde leksikale inskrywings in woordeboeke, d.w.s. poliseme woorde mag as homonieme gelemmatiseer word en andersom.</p> <p class="SP">Om ondubbelsinnig te onderskei tussen leksikale items wat óf homonieme óf poliseme woorde is, behoort leksikograwe in dié verband die kriteria te oorweeg wat deur vakkundiges voorgestel is:</p> <p class="L1P">— In ooreenstemming met die verwantskaps-/nieverwantskapskriterium sal dit vir die leksi-kograaf nodig wees om te bepaal watter leksikale items verwant is voordat hulle in die woordeboek ingesluit word.</p> <p class="L1P">— Die etimologiese kriterium sal die leksikograaf help om die verwantskap van leksikale items vir insluiting in die woordeboek te bepaal volgens hul historiese samehang.</p> <p class="EP">Deur hierdie kriteria te gebruik om 'n leksikale item korrek in die woordeboek te lemmatiseer, sal van die leksikograaf vereis word om te bepaal of 'n leksikale item beskou kan word as een woord met meer as een betekenis ('n poliseme woord), of as twee leksikale items wat dieselfde spelling het (homonieme). Om hierdie onderskeid te tref, sal die leksikograaf die historiese agtergrond van die leksikale item moet navors. Selfs al is hierdie kriteria belangrike hulpmiddels vir die onderskeiding van polisemie en homonimie word die probleem van subjektiwiteit nie heeltemal oorkom nie, omdat die kriteria nie die vlak of graad van verwantskap/nieverwantskap aandui waarby die lek-sikale item(s) as poliseem of homoniem beskou kan word nie.</p> <p>Sleutelwoorde: BETEKENISVERSKUIWING, POLISEMIE, HOMONIMIE, BETEKENIS, BETEKENISVERWANTSKAP, LEKSIKALE ITEM, ETIMOLOGIE, METAFOOR, METAFORIESE BETEKENIS, EUFEMISME, LEMMATISERING</p><br />