Cambridge Catalogue  
  • Help
Home > Catalogue > Lexical Meaning
Lexical Meaning


  • 30 b/w illus. 11 tables
  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.45 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521677646)

The ideal introduction for students of semantics, Lexical Meaning fills the gap left by more general semantics textbooks, providing the teacher and the student with insights into word meaning beyond the traditional overviews of lexical relations. The book explores the relationship between word meanings and syntax and semantics more generally. It provides a balanced overview of the main theoretical approaches, along with a lucid explanation of their relative strengths and weaknesses. After covering the main topics in lexical meaning, such as polysemy and sense relations, the textbook surveys the types of meanings represented by different word classes. It explains abstract concepts in clear language, using a wide range of examples, and includes linguistic puzzles in each chapter to encourage the student to practise using the concepts. 'Adopt-a-Word' exercises give students the chance to research a particular word, building a portfolio of specialist work on a single word.

• Each chapter includes several puzzles that test readers' understanding of the concepts • 'Adopt-a-Word' exercises in each chapter encourage students to research a single word, to ensure the development of a theme throughout the book • Demonstrates controversies in the field by considering more than one theoretical approach


Part I. Meaning and the Lexicon: 1. The lexicon - some preliminaries; 2. What do we mean by meaning?; 3. Components and prototypes; 4. Modern componential approaches - and some alternatives; Part II. Relations among Words and Senses: 5. Meaning variation: polysemy, homonymy and vagueness; 6. Lexical and semantic relations; Part III. Word Classes and Semantic Types: 7. Ontological categories and word classes; 8. Nouns and countability; 9. Predication: verbs, events, and states; 10. Verbs and time; 11. Adjectives and properties.


'A lucid, explanatory, problem-oriented textbook promoting original student research. The Adopt-a-Word scheme is ingenious.' Carita Paradis, Linnaeus University

'A thorough and lucidly written introduction to lexical semantics, ranging from classic philosophical puzzles to current theoretical issues in the study of word meaning. The puzzle and Adopt-a-Word exercises enable students to build their analytical skills and explore theoretical consequences.' Rochelle Lieber, University of New Hampshire

'Murphy's new book will surely become a favourite among textbooks on semantics, thanks to the good balance and accessibility of topics provided, its well-constructed exercises, and the clear focus on the intended readership.' Linguist List

printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis