, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 75–104 | Cite as

From corpus usages to cognitively informed dictionary senses: reconstructing an MLD entry for the verb float

  • Thomai DalpanagiotiEmail author
Original Paper


This paper offers a step-by-step guide to compiling a dictionary entry by applying cognitive semantic theories to corpus data. In this way, the paper aims to make a contribution to the field of cognitive lexicography. The focus of attention is on the lexicographic tasks of identifying lexical units, capturing usage patterns and providing definitions. In an attempt to systematize these demanding and highly subjective tasks, we combine the principles of corpus linguistics (corpus pattern analysis) and cognitive semantics (frame semantics, conceptual metaphor and metonymy theory, principled polysemy approach). The proposed integrated (corpus-based and cognitively oriented) lexicographic approach is demonstrated in the analysis of a polysemous lexical item from the semantic field of motion, the verb float. The independent semantic and phraseological analysis of float is compared with the corresponding entries of monolingual learners’ dictionaries to specify in what respects the described approach can improve EFL lexicography. The paper is not restricted to a theoretical discussion of lexicographic issues or a critical review of existing entries; rather, a new version of the float entry is offered. The proposed entry is claimed to be more transparent and streamlined than existing ones and can serve learners better in both decoding and encoding tasks.


Polysemy Usage patterns Corpus pattern analysis Frame semantics Conceptual metaphor and metonymy theory 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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