Sense Ordering of Polysemous Words in Learner's Dictionary
One of the well-established approaches to sense ordering in dictionaries is to arrange polysemous senses according to their frequency of occurrences. This, as believed by many lexicographers, derives from the hope that it can facilitate the user’s retrieval of new words while decoding a text. However, the frequency principle turns out to be unsatisfactory and failed to meet the dictionary compiler’s expectation, for there exists a gap between the dictionary users and its makers. Since the attention of contemporary lexicographers has shifted from the information included in dictionaries to the needs of dictionary users in their encoding as well as decoding activities, I find it necessary to figure out a principle for sense ordering from a learner-oriented angle.
As this study is based on polysemy, the evolution of polysemy, especially, in terms of the relations among polysemous senses, constitutes the central issue of my discussion. From an extensive investigation, we could conclude that all the senses existing in a semantic field are interrelated to each other through a network-like link. Each sense is one node of the network, and the stimulus of any node will trigger the others. This discussion offers a basis for further research into sense ordering.
The opinions on dictionary typology are varied as it can be considered from different point of view. Since this thesis mainly focuses on sense ordering in learner’s dictionary, a simple classification of it is necessary. Generally speaking, in terms of the needs that a lexicographical work is to meet, learner’s dictionary can be thought to have two tendencies: one is for decoding and the other is for encoding. Because of the different purposes they aim to achieve, there would be different principles to adopt in sense ordering in different dictionaries.
After deliberating the strong and weak points of each of seven ways of sense orderings, I endeavor to narrow down my study to the logical principle; that is, to arrange senses according to the logical relation amonu senses.