Construal of Mental Health Problems in English Learners' Dictionaries

Arleta Adamska-Sałaciak


The purpose of the present study is to check how well monolingual learners' dictionaries cope with the sensitive field of mental ill health. The subject is considered worthy of attention in view of the high prevalence of mental health problems among young people, at whom learners' dictionaries are primarily targeted. To obtain a picture of the situation, twelve names of common mental health issues have been looked up in six learners' dictionaries of English (five British and one American). The analysis zoomed in on the choice of genus words, the information value of the definitions and examples, and the potential impact of both on the sensibilities of dictionary users. To resolve occasional disagreements in matters of content, specialist medical sources have been consulted. The treatment is cognitive linguistic in spirit, with the notion of construal — specifically its key component of focal adjustment — serving as the main descriptive tool.


construal; cognitive linguistics; mental health; monolingual English learners' dictionaries; definitions; examples

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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