By Werner Hüllen
Roget's word list used to be first released in 1852 and has emerge as the most recognized and widely-used reference works on this planet. this can be the 1st account of its genesis. Werner Hüllen contends that synonymy (words with comparable meanings) is a characteristic of language with out which lets now not speak. He describes the improvement within the concept and perform of synonymy from Plato to the 17th century, while the 1st English synonym dictionaries started to appear. Roget's word list, the 1st synonym dictionary prepared in topical order, represents an drastically major height during this improvement. This publication exposes the conceptual framework in the back of the word list and indicates the way it will be interpreted as a predecessor of linguistic semantics.
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Extra info for A History of Roget's Thesaurus: Origins, Development, and Design
At ﬁrst sight, single-valued correlations between signs and their meanings would be so much easier to grasp. But multi-valued correlations are nevertheless very economical, because they considerably reduce the number of words that must be available for daily communication. In fact, language history, which has produced polysemy and homonymy, is the great labour-saving agency of linguistic communication. g. g. lead [syn. to guide]/lead [name of metal]). ‘Homonymy’ means sameness in spelling and pronunciation.
The reviewer was well informed. He referred to the author’s long labour on the book and showed an adequate understanding of the non-alphabetical arrangement of entries, an imitation, as he says, of ‘the methods adopted in Botany and in Natural History’. He also praised the book ‘as to the ability of its execution’. But as to the project in general and its aims he offered doubts and criticism: To have such a copious and well-arranged store as Dr. Roget’s ‘Thesaurus’ ready at hand, will be a convenience, as he himself found it was to himself.
The term synonymy obviously has both a strong and a weak sense. The question remains of whether synonymy in the weak sense has any positive function in language use. Polysemy on the one hand and synonymy on the other have in common that they regard the meaning of a word as a complex of partial meanings which constitute the complete meaning only if taken together. They have certain semantic features in common and differ in others. Dawn and dusk have in common that they denote the time between the light of day and the darkness of night, but they differ in that dawn means the morning and dusk the evening.
A History of Roget's Thesaurus: Origins, Development, and Design by Werner Hüllen