Main publications of Dirk Geeraerts

The books published by Dirk Geeraerts give the best idea of his scholarly activities. Below, the books are listed and described in reverse chronological order, with a brief description of each work.

[2010] Ten Lectures on Cognitive Sociolinguistics
[2010] Theories of Lexical Semantics
[2007] The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics
[2006] Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings
[2006] Words and Other Wonders
[2005] Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, ed. 14
[2000] Van Dale Groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal op cd-rom
[1999] Convergentie en divergentie in de Nederlandse woordenschat
[1997] Diachronic Prototype Semantics
[1994] The Structure of Lexical Variation
[1989] Wat er in een woord zit
[1986] Woordbetekenis
[1985] Paradigm and Paradox
[1982] Wegwijs in woordenboeken


Ten Lectures on Cognitive Sociolinguistics

Dirk Geeraerts
Ten Lectures on Cognitive Sociolinguistics
Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press [2010]
ISBN-13: 9787513504621
xxviii+319 pp; DVD

Ten Lectures contains a transcript, revised by the author, of an extended lecture series that Dirk Geeraerts presented in Beijing in the Spring of 2009. The book doesn't just consist of text and handouts: a special feature is the DVD with a filmed version of the original lectures. If you want to see Geeraerts in live action, this is the place to be...

After an initial presentation of the social turn in Cognitive Linguistics, the chapters move from the study of semasiological variation from a social and cultural perspective, to the study of onomasiological variation, and hence to the description of a model of the language that combines the insights of sociolinguistics with those of Cognitive Linguistics.

Theories of Lexical Semantics

Dirk Geeraerts
Theories of Lexical Semantics
Oxford: Oxford University Press [2010]
ISBN-13: 9780198700319
ISBN-10: 0198700318
x+341 pp

Theories of Lexical Semantics offers a comprehensive overview of the major traditions of word meaning research in linguistics. In spite of the growing importance of the lexicon in linguistic theory, no overview of the main theoretical trends in lexical semantics is currently available. This book fills that gap by charting the evolution of the discipline from the mid nineteenth century to the present day.

It presents the main ideas, the landmark publications, and the dominant figures of five traditions: historical-philological semantics, structuralist semantics, generativist semantics, neostructuralist semantics, and cognitive semantics. The theoretical and methodological relationship between the approaches is a major point of attention throughout the text: going well beyond a mere chronological enumeration, the book does not only describe the theoretical currents of lexical semantics, but also the undercurrents that have shaped its evolution.

The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Dirk Geeraerts & Hubert Cuyckens (eds.)
The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics
New York: Oxford University Press [2007]
ISBN-13: 9780195143782
xxx+1334 pp

Between the late 1970s and the first decade of the new millennium, Cognitive Linguistics developed into one of the most dynamic and attractive frameworks within theoretical and descriptive linguistics. With forty-nine chapters written by experts in the field, this reference volume authoritatively covers the entire domain of Cognitive Linguistics, from basic concepts to practical applications.

The first twenty chapters give readers the opportunity to acquire a thorough knowledge of the fundamental analytic concepts and descriptive models of Cognitive Linguistics and their background. Rather than set off with an exposé on the architecture of Cognitive Linguistics, the book starts with a set of chapters discussing different conceptual phenomena that are recognized as key concepts in Cognitive Linguistics: prototypicality, metaphor, metonymy, embodiment, perspectivization, mental spaces, etc. A second set of chapters deals with Cognitive Grammar, Construction Grammar, and Word Grammar, which, each in their own way, bring together the basic concepts into a particular theory of grammar and a specific model for the description of grammatical phenomena. Special attention is given to the interrelation between Cognitive and Construction Grammar. A third set of chapters compares Cognitive Linguistics with other forms of linguistic research (functional linguistics, autonomous linguistics, and the history of linguistics), thus giving a readers a better grip on the position of Cognitive Linguistics within the landscape of linguistics at large.

The remaining chapters apply these basic notions to various more specific linguistic domains: they illustrate how Cognitve Linguistics deals with the traditional linguistic subdomains (phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, text and discourse), they demonstrate how it handles linguistic variation and change, they consider its importance in the domain of Applied Linguistics, and finally look at interdisciplinary links with research fields such as philosophy and psychology.

Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings

Dirk Geeraerts (ed.)
Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings
Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter [2006]
ISBN-13: 9783110190854
ISBN-10: 3110190850
485 pp

Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings is a reader that is specifically designed for an introductory course in Cognitive Linguistics. It brings stogether twelve foundational articles by leading figures in the field, each of which introduces one the basic concepts of Cognitive Linguistics, like conceptual metaphor, mental spaces, construction grammar, and prototypicality.

The introductory purposes of the collection are supported by an introduction to the theory and, importantly, the practice of cognitive linguistics, and by suggestions for further reading that start out from the individual chapters.

Words and Other Wonders

Dirk Geeraerts
Words and Other Wonders. Papers on Lexical and Semantic Topics
Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter [2006]
ISBN-13: 9783110190427
ISBN-10: 3110190427
493 pp

This volume brings together seventeen previously published papers on lexical and semantic topics. In the fifteen years covered by the collection, from 1988 to 2003, the central topics of Dirk's research led to a number of monographs: Diachronic Prototype Semantics (1997) synthesizes the research into historical semasiology that dominated much of his work in the 1980s, and two co-authored monographs, The Structure of Lexical Variation (1994) and Convergentie en Divergentie in de Nederlandse Woordenschat (1999) embody the corpus-based studies of onomasiological variation and change that he developed with his research group in Leuven in the 1990s. Words and Other Wonders brings together a number of papers devoted to lexicological and semantic topics that he dealt with more sporadically or in parallel to these major foci.

The first section deals with prototypicality as a theoretical and practical model of semantic description. The second section discusses polysemy and criteria for distinguishing between meanings. The third section tackles questions of meaning description beyond the level of words, on the level of idioms and constructions. The following section casts the net even wider, dealing with the cultural aspects of meaning. Moving away from the theoretical and descriptive perspective towards applied concerns, the fifth section looks at lexicography from the point of view of Cognitive Linguistics. The final section has a metatheoretical orientation: it discusses the history and methodology of lexical semantics.

Theoretically, the papers are interconnected by a number of accents that mark their specific position within the varied landscape of Cognitive Linguistics: a continued attempt to provide solid empirical foundations for semantics, an emphasis on the multivariate nature of semantic structure, and an insistence on the social and cultural background of language.

Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, ed. 14

Ton den Boon & Dirk Geeraerts
Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, 14th edition
Utrecht/Antwerpen: Van Dale Lexicografie [2005]
ISBN 9066484276
4464 pp

The Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal is the major dictionary of contemporary Dutch, generally recognized in The Netherlands and Belgium as thé authoritative source for lexical and semantic questions about the language. In size, it is comparable to the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In scope, it is comparable to the Duden dictionary for German. The 14th edition of the dictionary appeared in 2005, with Ton den Boon and Dirk Geeraerts as editors-in-chief.

The publication of the 14th edition marks the end of Dirk's involvement with the practical lexicography of Dutch, an involvement that began in 1977 when he started his career as a historical lexicographer for the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, the Dutch counterpart of the Oxford English Dictionary. After the mid-1980s, when he left the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie in Leiden, practical lexicographical work became less important in his activities, but from 1993 tot 2005, his work on the Van Dale dictionary again took up a considerable amount of his time.

Van Dale Groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal op cd-rom

Dirk Geeraerts
Van Dale Groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal op cd-rom
Utrecht/Antwerpen: Van Dale Lexicografie [2000]
Basisversie ISBN 9066485329
Plusversie ISBN 9066484608

The 13th edition of the Van Dale Groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal appeared in 1999, with Guido Geerts and Ton den Boon as editors-in-chief, and with Dirk Geeraerts as one of the editors. The cd-rom that appeared in 2000 is basically the electronic version of the paper dictionary published the year before. As editor-in chief of the cd-rom version, Dirk Geeraerts was responsible for the overall architecture of the product.

The cd-rom version contains a number of innovative features, not just in comparison with the paper dictionary, but also in comparison with other dictionaries on cd-rom available at that time. Among the innovations may be mentioned:
- a search function based on sound correspondences
- the incorporation of speech technology, so that the pronunciation of all the 230.000 head words can be made audible
- the integration, within a single product, of an alphabetical dictionary with specialized dictionaries such as a rhyming dictionary, a reverse dictionary, a dictionary of quotations, an dictionary of anagrams (and others)
- an advanced search function that turns the dictionary inside out: you can search for words or expressions or quotations on the basis of their meaning, the label they receive, their etymology or source, their formal type and so on.

Convergentie en divergentie in de Nederlandse woordenschat

Dirk Geeraerts, Stefan Grondelaers & Dirk Speelman
Convergentie en divergentie in de Nederlandse woordenschat. Een onderzoek naar kleding- en voetbaltermen
Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut [1999]
ISBN 90 70389 60 6
172 pp

"Convergentie en divergentie" studies the relationship between the vocabulary of Belgian Dutch and that of Netherlandic Dutch (i.e. the varieties of Dutch spoken in Belgium and in The Netherlands, respectively). By comparing onomasiological alternatives (more specifically, the relative frequency of synonyms like legging and caleço, "tight-fitting pair of trousers for women") over a period of 40 years (from 1950 over 1970 to 1990), it is shown that there is a process of convergence between both varieties.

At the same time, it is made clear that the distance between the formal and the more informal language varieties of the language is markedly different between Belgium and The Netherlands: the informal variety maintains a much greater distance with regard to the highest register in Belgium than it does in The Netherlands. As such, it is much more of a substandard variety in Belgium than it is in The Netherlands.

Methodologically speaking, the consistently onomasiological method demonstrated in this book is an innovation in the (relatively poorly developed) field of "sociolexicology".

Diachronic Prototype Semantics

Dirk Geeraerts
Diachronic prototype semantics. A contribution to historical lexicology
Oxford: Clarendon Press [1997]
ISBN 0 19 823652 2
207 pp

This monograph explores the implications of the prototype-theoretical model of semantic structure for a theory of semantic change. It identifies the structural features of the development of word meanings that follow from a prototype-theoretical model of semantic structure, and incorporates these diachronic prototypicality effects into a theory of semantic change.

The book tries to strike a balance between theoretical exploration and diachronic description, supporting each step in the argumentation with detailed case studies that chart the semantic development of specific words or that illustrate specific mechanisms of semantic change. In this way, the book provides both a theoretical model for diachronic semantics and a number of methodological strategies and representational formats that exemplify how changes of word meaning can be studied in practice.

The Structure of Lexical Variation

Dirk Geeraerts, Stefan Grondelaers & Peter Bakema
The structure of lexical variation. Meaning, naming, and context
Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter [1994]
ISBN 3 11 014387 9
vii+221 pp

On the basis of an in-depth, corpus-based case study of a single lexical field (that of Dutch clothing terms), this monograph develops a model for the interaction between meaning, naming, and context.

Three major factors are identified in the study of lexical variation: semasiological variation (involving the various meanings that a word may have), onomasiological variation (involving the alternative names that may be used to designate a concept or a particular type of referent), and pragmatic, contextual variation (involving various aspects of the linguistic and extralinguistic context in which an utterance is made, such as the sociolinguistic characteristics of the speakers or the stylistic register of the text). The structure of lexical variation investigates the characteristics of these three factors, and describes the ways in which they interact.

Within the field of lexicology, this monograph occupies a specific position for at least tree reasons. First, it combines the legacy of structuralist semantics with the insights and methods developed in the context of prototype theory. Second, it adds a contextual perspective to the Cognitive Linguistic study of semantic variation, by systematically taking into account speaker-related and situation-related variables. Third, it develops a usage-based model for lexicological research, with actual usage data as its starting-point.

Wat er in een woord zit

Dirk Geeraerts
Wat er in een woord zit. Facetten van de lexicale semantiek
Leuven: Peeters [1989]
ISBN 90 6831 160 3
268 pp

Wat er in een woord zit ("What there is in a word") is a sort of sequel to Woordbetekenis of 1986. Whereas the latter is a historical overview of theories of word meaning, the 1989 book is an introduction to word meaning as such, i.e. to lexical semantic phenomena in all their aspects and to the way in which they may be described. Taking a systematically prototype-theoretical point of view, the book discusses topics like polysemy and vagueness, non-referential types of meaning, meaning change and meaning variation, and the relationship between theoretical lexical semantic and practical lexicography.

In 1991, the book was awarded the prestigious "Prize of the Flemish government for a scholarly monograph".

Woordbetekenis. Een overzicht van de lexicale semantiek

Dirk Geeraerts
Woordbetekenis. Een overzicht van de lexicale semantiek
Leuven: Acco [1986]
ISBN 90 334 1341 8
x+279 pp

Woordbetekenis ("Lexical meaning") is a textbook-style historical overview of lexical semantics. It distinguishes between four main theoretical approaches: historical-philological semantics (the diachronic approach that dominated before 1930), structuralist semantics (including componential analysis), logical semantics, and cognitive semantics. The main figures, tenets, methodologies, and achievements of the foour approaches are presented. Specific attention is paid to the undercurrents of the historical development of the discipline (in particular, the fact that cognitive semantics is to some extent a renewal of the oldest historical-philological tradition).

Paradigm and Paradox

Dirk Geeraerts
Paradigm and paradox. An exploration into a paradigmatic theory of meaning and its epistemological background
Leuven: Leuven University Press [1985]
ISBN 90 6186 173 X
407 pp

Paradigm and paradox is the English version of the doctoral dissertation on the basis of which Dirk Geeraerts received his PhD in 1981.

The crucial notion of the book is the concept "paradigmatic". Linguistically, this coincides with the notion "prototypical": the book argues for a prototypical conception of lexical meaning (drawing on the work of Rosch, but - at least in 1981 - developed independently of the linguistic form of prototype theory that was at that time being elaborated by George Lakoff and Ron Langacker, as one of the conceptual cornerstones of what was later to become known as Cognitive Linguistics).

The notion "paradigmatic" extends beyond linguistic prototypicality, though: Paradigm and paradox shows that the epistemological basis of prototypicality (viz. the view that existing knowledge influences the construction and storage of new knowledge) parallels a number of theories developed in the domain of the philosophical theory of knowledge and the philosophy of science. Crucial names in the discussion are those of Husserl, Sartre, Hegel on the one hand, and Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend on the other.

The "paradox" referred to in the title of the book involves the concept of epistemological objectivity. The philosophical elaboration of the prototypical conception of meaning, in fact, leads to the recognition that no metatheoretical conception of knowledge can fully encompass itself - and up to a point, this holds even for the paradigmatic view.

Wegwijs in woordenboeken

Dirk Geeraerts & Guy Janssens
Wegwijs in woordenboeken. Een kritisch overzicht van de lexicografie van het Nederlands
Assen: Van Gorcum [1982]
ISBN 90 232 1926 0
149 pp

Wegwijs in woordenboeken translates roughly as "How to find your way in the lexicography of Dutch". The book is intended as a practical (though critical) guide to the dictionaries of Dutch. The first quarter of the text is an introduction to theoretical lexicography at large, supplemented with a short history of the lexicography of Dutch. The main part of the book is a survey of the different types of (monolingual) dictionaries available for Dutch: general dictionaries, pronunciation dictionaries, rhyming dictionaries, historical dictionaries - and what have you. The book was written in collaboration with Guy Janssens, who was then Dirk Geeraerts' colleague at the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie in Leiden.