In so many words: Knowledge as a lexical phenomenon
Lexical knowledge is knowledge that can be expressed in words. Circular though this may seem, we think it provides a perfectly reasonable point of departure, for, in line with a long-standing philosophical tradition it posits communicability as the most characteristic aspect of lexical knowledge. Knowledge representation systems should be designed so as to fit lexical data rather than the other way round. A broad view of the possible scope of lexical semantics would thus be one which tries to chart out the systematic, generalizable aspects of word meanings, and of the relations between words, drawing on readily accessible sources of lexical knowledge, such as machine readable dictionaries, encyclopedias, and representative corpora, coupled with the kind of analytic apparatus that is needed to fruitfully explore such sources, for instance custom-built parsers to cope with dictionary definitions (Vossen 1990b), statistical programs to deal with the distributional properties of lexical items in large corpora (Church & Hanks 1990) etc. At the same time this kind of massive data-acquisition should be made sensitive to the borders between perceptual experience, lexical knowledge and expert knowledge.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.