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By Werner Hüllen

Roget's glossary used to be first released in 1852 and has emerge as the most well-known and widely-used reference works on this planet. this can be the 1st account of its genesis. Werner Hüllen contends that synonymy (words with related meanings) is a function of language with no which lets now not speak. He describes the improvement within the idea and perform of synonymy from Plato to the 17th century, whilst the 1st English synonym dictionaries started to appear. Roget's glossary, the 1st synonym dictionary prepared in topical order, represents an drastically major height during this improvement. This e-book exposes the conceptual framework at the back of the word list and indicates the way it may 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

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7 Therefore, we regard the apprehension of meanings which come from linguistic signs as a genetically given human faculty which does not need any further explanation. 8 The latter is, of course, the result of the former. Basically, clarity of meaning indication is achieved by the phonetic (and/or graphical) differences between signs. The semiotically ideal case is that one sign (as gestalt) indicates one meaning. Our discussion of the protean character of words has already shown that our natural languages meet these two conditions only partly and, as a consequence, imperfectly (but see below).

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.

According to this author, it was highly structured and complex, concerned with the orderly arrangement of ideas and the hierarchy of relations between them: Finding its background in the classifications of Linnaeus and in the systems of the French encyclopedists, brought to light in the atmosphere of the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the intellectual principle of the Thesaurus foreshadows the distrust of metaphysics, the emphasis on epistemology, and the attention to semantics which became significant currents in the mainstream of twentieth century philosophy (Carnap, Korzybski, Ogden, and Richards).

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