GENERAL: The component in the grammar which is in its bare form a list of words or lexical entries. It contains information about (a) the pronunciation, (b) the meaning, (c) morphological properties, and (d) syntactic properties of
its entries. Furthermore, the Lexicon must contain at least the idiosyncratic information about its entries. Up to this point there is little or no controversy among linguists. However, beyond this matters become more complex. American
structuralists (e.g. Bloomfield (1933)) assume that the Lexicon contains only information that is completely idiosyncratic. Any property of a word which can be predicted by phonological, morphological, or syntactic rule will therefore be excluded from the Lexicon. In this approach the
Lexicon is simply a list of morphemes. In other approaches
(e.g. Halle (1973), Jackendoff (1975), Aronoff (1976)
the Lexicon is more complex. Next to a list of underived lexical entries, it contains a word formation component. Hence, in this approach morphology is an integrated part of the Lexicon.
EXAMPLE: the English Lexicon contains the adjective opaque and
the nominalizing suffix -ity. It furthermore contains a suffixation rule which adds -ity to adjectives, and by means of this rule the form [[opaque] ity] is derived. This form is changed into opacity in the separate phonological component. In a third approach, known as the theory of Lexical Morphology/Phonology (e.g. Kiparsky (1982)), the Lexicon contains (a) a list of underived lexical items, (b) linearly ordered levels of word formation rules, and (c) a list of level ordered phonological rules. The difference between this approach and the preceding one is the position of the (lexical) phonological rules. In the theory of Lexical Morphology/Phonology the derived form [[opaque] ity] is changed into opacity within the Lexicon. These three approaches to the Lexicon are the
most prominent ones.
Spencer (1991) provides a good review of the function assigned to the Lexicon in a great number of theories.
See permanent lexicon and potential lexicon.
|LIT.||Aronoff, M. (1976)|
Halle, M. (1973)
Jackendoff, R. (1975)
Kiparsky, P. (1982)
Spencer, A. (1991)