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Incompatibility: A no-sense relation?

  • Incompatibility (or co-hyponymy) is the most general type of semantic relation between lexical items, the meaning of which entails exclusion. Such items fall under a superordinate term or concept and denote sets which have no members in common (e.g. animal: dog-cat-mouse-lion-sheep; example from Cruse 2004). Traditionally, these have been of interest to lexical semanticists for the description of the structure of the lexicon. However, incompatibility is not just a relation that signifies a difference of meaning. This paper is a critical corpus-assisted re-evaluation of the phenomenon of incompatibility which argues that the relation in question sometimes also functions as a discourse marker. Incompatibles indicate recurrent intertextual patterns. This holds particularly true for socially or politically controversial lexical items such as Flexibilität (flexibility), Mobilität (mobility) or Globalisierung (globalisation). Corpus investigations of such words have revealed that among other semantically related terms, incompatibles have a crucial discourse focussing function. For the German lexical item Globalisierung, I will show how its lexical usage can be studied through a corpus-driven analysis of corresponding incompatibles. Incompatible terms are not contingent co-words but often occur in close contextual proximity and participate in regular syntagmatic structures (e.g. Globalisierung und Rationalisierung; Globalisierung und Modernisierung; Neoliberalismus, Globalisierung und Kapitalismus). Hence, these are easily extracted by conducting a computational collocation analysis. Such significant collocates provide a good insight into the discursive and thematic contexts of the search word. Following Teubert (2004), I will demonstrate how the meaning of such lexical items is constituted in discourse and how the examination of these particular collocates reveals their sense-constructing function and their pragmatic-discursive force. I will provide a brief discussion of the methodology used for such analyses, and I will explain why the complex semantic-pragmatic and thematic-communicative patterns implied in sets of incompatibles should be given a stronger emphasis in lexicography.

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Author:Petra StorjohannGND
Parent Title (English):Proceedings of the 4th Corpus Linguistics conference, Birmingham
Publisher:University of Birmingham
Place of publication:Birmingham
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Year of first Publication:2007
Date of Publication (online):2016/06/21
GND Keyword:Antonym; Deutsch; Homonym; Korpus <Linguistik>; Lexikographie; Semasiologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 410 Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
BDSL-Classification:Lexikographie, Wörterbücher
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Lexikologie / Etymologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0 Deutschland