Lexicon

In linguistics, the lexicon (from Greek Λεξικόν) of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes.

The lexicon includes the lexemes used to actualize words. Lexemes are formed according to morpho-syntactic rules and express sememes. In this sense, a lexicon organizes the mental vocabulary in a speaker's mind: First, it organizes the vocabulary of a language according to certain principles (for instance, all verbs of motion may be linked in a lexical network) and second, it contains a generative device producing (new) simple and complex words according to certain lexical rules. For example, the suffix '-able' can be added to transitive verbs only, so that we get 'read-able' but not 'cry-able'.

Usually a lexicon is a container for words belonging to the same language. Some exceptions may be encountered for languages that are variants, like for instance Brazilian Portuguese compared to the Portuguese language, where a lot of words are common and where the differences may be marked word by word.

When linguists study the lexicon, they study such things as what words are, how the vocabulary in a language is structured, how people use and store words, how they learn words, the history and evolution of words (i.e. etymology), types of relationships between words as well as how words were created.

An individual's lexicon, lexical knowledge, or lexical concept is that person's knowledge of vocabulary.

ee also

* Glossary
* Lexeme
* Lexical markup framework
* Lexical word
* Morphology (linguistics)
* Vocabulary
* Idiolect

Further reading

* Aitchison, Jean. "Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon." Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2003.


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  • lexicon — LEXICÓN, lexicoane, s.n. Dicţionar. ♦ (Rar) Enciclopedie (a unui domeniu). – Din lat., fr. lexicon. Trimis de LauraGellner, 20.05.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  LEXICÓN s. v. dicţionar. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime  lexicón s. n …   Dicționar Român

  • lexicon — (n.) c.1600, a dictionary, from M.Fr. lexicon or directly from Mod.L. lexicon, from Gk. lexikon (biblion) word (book), from neuter of lexikos pertaining to words, from lexis word, from legein say (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture) (n.)). Used originally… …   Etymology dictionary

  • lexicón — sustantivo masculino 1. Diccionario de una lengua. 2. Área: linguística En gramática generativa, conjunto no ordenado de entradas léxicas que se definen de acuerdo con sus rasgos fonológicos, sintácticos y semánticos: El lexicón de una lengua es… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • lexicon — [lek′si kän΄] n. [Gr lexikon, neut. of lexikos, of words < lexis, a saying, phrase, word < legein: see LOGIC] 1. a dictionary, esp. of an ancient language 2. the special vocabulary of a particular author, field of study, etc. 3. a record or …   English World dictionary

  • Lexicon — Lex i*con (l[e^]ks [i^]*k[o^]n), n. [Gr. lexiko n (sc. bibli on), neut. of lexiko s of or belonging to words, fr. le xis a speaking, speech, a way of speaking, a single word or phrase, fr. le gein to say, to speak. See {Legend}.] A vocabulary, or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lexicon — Lexicon, fondée en 1971, est une entreprise qui fabrique du matériel audio à destination du grand public et des professionnels. La société qui est aujourd hui célèbre pour ses réverbérations (480L, PCM 70) a commencé son activité en fabriquant un …   Wikipédia en Français

  • lexicon — [lɛksikɔ̃] n. m. ÉTYM. 1563. → Lexique. ❖ ♦ Vx. Lexique, 1. (cit. 1, 2) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • léxicon — s. m. O mesmo que léxico. • [Brasil] Plural: lexícones ou léxicons. • [Portugal] Plural: lexícones.   ‣ Etimologia: grego leksikós, ê, ón, relativo a palavras …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • lexicon — [n] collection of word meanings, usage dictionary, glossary, terminology, thesaurus, vocabulary, wordbook, wordlist, word stock; concepts 276,280 …   New thesaurus

  • lexicón — m. diccionario (ǁ libro) …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • lexicon — ► NOUN 1) the vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge. 2) a dictionary. ORIGIN from Greek lexikon biblion book of words , from lexis word …   English terms dictionary

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