Dictionary POS

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Tue Jan 15 16:57:46 UTC 2008

This is interesting.  Is it the task of the dictionary to give airtight (or nearly airtight) indications for how every individual word should be used? Is this even possible?  There is great complexity in everyday speech.  
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of LanDi Liu
Sent: Tue 1/15/2008 2:33 AM

My students of course don't make mistakes like that, because I teach them
determiners and how to use them.  But from my personal experience learning
Chinese, if I can find the part of speech for a word listed in a Chinese
dictionary (most of them don't list them), I still have very little idea how
to use the word.  For example, it may say a word is a verb, but I have no
idea if it is transitive or intransitive.  Example sentences can help, but
they seldom list all of the possibilities.  Often, even when there are many
ways to use a word, all of the example sentences illustrate only one way.
So if I was not a native speaker of English and I looked up "some", while I
might avoid constructing sentences like the examples I gave, calling "some"
an adjective bears the implication that it can be used like other

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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