Biblical Hebrew lexicology : a cognitive linguistic perspective

Van der Merwe, Christo H. J. (2006)

The original publication is only available in print


Hebrew (=BH) and other Semitic languages, one seldom comes across explicit definitions of the term “lexicography”. An exception is O’Connor (2002). According to him, lexicography seeks to guide and describe the production of books that people actually use. ... Three tasks are basic to lexicography... These are (a) delimitation of the material studies (What is this a? lexicon of?), (b) the structural segmentation of the material studies (What are the working units of the lexicon?), and (c) the delimitation and arrangement of relevant information (What is the lexicon going to provide the user with concerning each of the working units?). What I do find lacking, even in O’Connor’s thorough overview of Biblical Hebrew lexicons, as well as the earlier influential works of James Barr (1973, 1992, 1993, 1994), the “Introduction” to the new lexicon by Clines et al. (1993:14-29), Lübbe’s range of publications on Biblical Hebrew lexicography (1990, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2003), Muraoka (1995 and 1998), Emerton (1997) and De Blois (2000, 2002a and 2002b), is any reference or even the recognition of significant advances in the field of theoretical lexicography. Names of the pioneers in this field of study – like Zgusta and Wiegand – are nowhere to be found. It is beyond the perspectives from theoretical lexicography for Biblical Hebrew lexicography. But even a cursory consideration of the insights gained in this field of study suggests that it can assist BH scholars in the use of principled criteria for the delimitation and structuring of information in BH dictionaries in terms of the purpose a particular lexicon is supposed to fulfil (Imbayarwo 2003).

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