Towards an explanatory-combinatorial dictionary of Japanese

François Lareau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


The Meaning-Text Theory is a formal, dependency-based linguistic theory in which the lexicon plays a central role. Within this theory, the vocabulary of a language is described by an Explanatory-Combinatorial Dictionary [ECD]. Unlike most existing dictionaries, an ECD is oriented towards language generation rather than analysis. This orientation makes it especially useful for language learners or computers that need to produce nativequality (i.e. highly idiomatic) texts. An ECD of a language aims at describing exhaustively all three components of its lexical units: their meaning, their form and their combinatorics. While it is common for current dictionaries to describe words’ meaning and form, their combinatorics is often left undescribed, so that the user has no information on how to actually use them in a sentence. An ECD, on the contrary, describes not only the syntactic and morphological behavior of words, but also their restricted lexical cooccurrence. The description of the restricted lexical cooccurrence of words constitutes the heart of an ECD. It is done using a formal language known as lexical functions. Lexical functions offer an elegant and powerful way of encoding common semantico-syntactic patterns of lexical cooccurrence. Until now, most of the work in explanatory-combinatorial lexicography has been done on French and Russian. The main goal of this paper is to show that it would be possible and useful to develop an ECD of Japanese, and to discuss potential problems inherent to this task and propose some leads towards a solution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDictionaries and language learning
Subtitle of host publicationhow can dictionaries help human & machine learning? : papers submitted to the Third ASIALEX Biennial International Conference, Meikai University, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, August 27-29, 2003
EditorsMinoru Murata, Shigeru Yamada, Yukio Tono
PublisherAsian Association for Lexicography
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9784990177102
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventASIALEX Biennial International Conference (3rd : 2003) - Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
Duration: 27 Aug 200329 Aug 2003


ConferenceASIALEX Biennial International Conference (3rd : 2003)
CityUrayasu, Chiba, Japan

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