Remarks on the Lexicographical Treatment of Metaforms

  • William Frawley Department of Linguistics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE USA 19716
Keywords: adverb, complementizer, conjunction, definition, discourse marker, <i>even</i>, focus particle, form class, indexicals, interjection, <i>just</i>, lexicography, <i>like</i>, metaforms, now, part of speech, preposition, quotative, <i>then</i>, usage


This paper examines the way dictionaries describe metaforms, items that refer to the linguistic system itself (e.g., pronouns and indexicals). The paper first shows the inconsistent grammatical classification of metaforms, which are usually and incorrectly categorized as adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, or interjections. It is then argued that metaforms should be classified in their currently known grammatical categories: discourse marker (<i>now</i>), focus particle (<i>even, like</i>), quotative (<i>like</i>), and so on. Discussion then turns to the definitions of metaforms, with illustration of their incorrect or misleading semantic characterization and suggestions for capturing their denotations consistently. This examination of the lexicography of metaforms is ultimately a case study in how dictionary making might be informed by judicious use of current grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic theory.
How to Cite
Frawley, W. (1). Remarks on the Lexicographical Treatment of Metaforms. Lexikos, 6(1).
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