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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.23670/IRJ.2017.58.024

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Курашкина Н. А. ОБ УСОВЕРШЕНСТВОВАНИИ ДЕФИНИЦИЙ ОРНИТОНИМОВ В ТОЛКОВЫХ СЛОВАРЯХ / Н. А. Курашкина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2017. — № 04 (58) Часть 2. — С. 52—56. — URL: https://research-journal.org/languages/on-the-improvement-of-definitions-characterizing-ornithonyms-in-monolingual-dictionaries/ (дата обращения: 19.06.2019. ). doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2017.58.024
Курашкина Н. А. ОБ УСОВЕРШЕНСТВОВАНИИ ДЕФИНИЦИЙ ОРНИТОНИМОВ В ТОЛКОВЫХ СЛОВАРЯХ / Н. А. Курашкина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2017. — № 04 (58) Часть 2. — С. 52—56. doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2017.58.024

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ОБ УСОВЕРШЕНСТВОВАНИИ ДЕФИНИЦИЙ ОРНИТОНИМОВ В ТОЛКОВЫХ СЛОВАРЯХ

Курашкина Н.А.

Кандидат филологических наук, Доцент, Башкирский государственный университет

ОБ УСОВЕРШЕНСТВОВАНИИ ДЕФИНИЦИЙ ОРНИТОНИМОВ В ТОЛКОВЫХ СЛОВАРЯХ

Аннотация

В статье затрагивается проблема усовершенствования дефиниций орнитонимов, содержащихся в толковых словарях, предназначенных для взрослых носителей языка. Основу проведенного исследования лексикографических толкований составили три английских, два французских и три русских толковых словаря. Представляется, что краткая лингвистическая и экстралингвистическая информация, поданная в соответствии с родо-видовым подходом, способна придать гибкость и вариативность дефинициям при общей стандартизации набора облигаторных и факультативных компонентов, что позволяет осуществить описание каждого вида как уникального явления со всеми его отличительными признаками. Структура каждого толкования предполагает присутствие таких восьми облигаторных компонентов, как принадлежность птицы к отряду или семейству, ареал распространения, ландшафт обитания, характер миграций, тип питания, величина птицы, цвет оперения и вокальная характеристика. Четыре факультативных компонента  предназначены для отражения эксклюзивных характеристик вида и могут быть при необходимости опущены.

Ключевые слова: орнитоним, одноязычный (толковый) словарь,  облигаторный компонент, факультативный компонент, структура дефиниции.

Kurashkina N.A.

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Bashkir State University

ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF DEFINITIONS CHARACTERIZING ORNITHONYMS IN MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARIES

Abstract

The article tackles the problem how to improve bird definitions represented in monolingual dictionaries for adult native speakers. The research of the given lexicographic interpretations is based on three English, two French and three Russian monolingual dictionaries. It is assumed that information (both linguistic and extralinguistic), expressed in a concise and typified way in accordance with the genus-and-differentia approach, where the elements of standardization are supported by flexibility, can increase the potential of a dictionary definition and give a concretized image of a bird with its basic distinctive features. The structure of each definition implies the presence of eight obligatory components, such as the scientific order and family reference, a bird’s distribution, typical habitat, character of migration, feeding ecology, a bird’s size, colour of plumage and typical vocalizations. Four optional components are designed to reflect exclusive species characteristics but they can be omitted when irrelevant.

Keywords: ornithonym, monolingual dictionary, obligatory component, optional component, the structure of the definition.

1. Introduction: on the problem of lexicographic description of ornithonyms

Lexicographic description of bird names can be found in any authoritative dictionary of any language but the number of ornithonyms and the manner of their presentation vary considerably. First of all, it is based on a practical purpose of a particular dictionary type. As B.T.S. Atkins and M. Rundell observe, definitions are always in close connection with their target users and are designed in their content and form to meet the readers’ expectations [4, P. 407].

Monolingual dictionaries for adult native speakers or linguists (such as [7] or [3]) are normally used for general reference purposes or for studying a particular subject. As for ornithonyms, they are adequately presented, though it is difficult to say whether the users will be satisfied with the amount of the given information.

Nouns referring to concrete objects of the natural world, where ornithonyms belong, can be successfully defined, if the genus-and-differentia approach is applied. This approach is based on the notions that the meanings of such words are ‘reducible to a set of essential conditions’ [4, P. 437]. For a bird name, it is essential to indicate what the denotatum looks like and how it behaves. In fact, as P. Hanks observes, the meanings of natural-language terms are ‘extremely flexible and adaptable, precisely because they have undefined boundaries and no necessary conditions’ [8, P. 337]. It is not surprising that necessary and sufficient conditions are frequently substituted by typification, which shows the user ‘what is normally the case rather than what is necessarily the case’ [4, P. 418]. ‘The difficulty lies in achieving just the right level of generalization’ [8, P. 411].

As M. Rundell claims, due to digital revolution the typologies proposed by L.V. Shcherba, ‘based on binary oppositions like ‘dictionary vs thesaurus’ and ‘dictionary vs encyclopedia’ are rapidly breaking down’ and the boundary between a dictionary and an encyclopedia (which has been always problematic) becomes irrelevant [14, P. 78]. L. Bauer believes that ‘encyclopedic information is often of more use to the reader than a purely linguistic definition might be’ [5, P. 112]. Nowadays users are engaged in ‘search’, when it comes to online resources (including e-dictionaries), and it is difficult to say whether ‘they will identify their needs as specifically lexical or encyclopedic’ [14, P. 79]. That is why it is strongly believed that in defining ornithonyms a reasonable balance between linguistic and extralinguistic information is required.

2. Lexicographic presentation of ornithonyms in the selected monolingual dictionaries

The variety of dictionaries selected for the analysis implies that ornithonyms are represented as general lexical items and the target audience of these dictionaries is adult educated people. English bird definitions are taken from COED11 [7], CED12 [6] and WCCD1 [17]. French definitions of ornithonyms are extracted from PR3 [13] and Larousse [11].The analysis of Russian bird names is performed on the basis of three academic dictionaries: SSRLYa [3], MAS3 [2] and BTS [1].

Ornithonyms under analysis represent those passerine birds that both inhabit and visit the European continent and can be familiar to people in Great Britain, France and Russia. The chosen number of such bird names is 102. But the range of the analysed ornithonyms comprises 55 English, 51 French and 66 Russian ornithonyms. Such a reduced number arises due to the use of one and the same name for several species belonging to a particular family. For example, in the ornithonyms barred warbler, garden warbler, icterine warbler the substantive names coincide, while the epithets marked in italics point at particular species. Epithets are not described in the dictionaries and are excluded from the analysis.

2.1. Frequency of semantic components in bird definitions

Out of 55 English bird names 55 ornithonyms are found in COED11, 54 in CED12 and 52 in WCCD1. Out of 51 French names 50 ornithonyms entered Larousse and 43 are found in PR3. Out of 66 Russian bird names 57 ornithonyms are described in SSRLYa, 54 in BTS and 51 in MAS3. COED11, Larousse and SSRLYa show the maximum of the definitions in question.

The analysis of bird features described in the English definitions shows the following:  such components as (1) the order or family reference, (2) the colour of plumage, (3) distribution, (4) peculiar bird features and (5) a bird’s size can be called dominant in [7] and [6]; [11] and [13] demonstrate the frequency of such components as (1) the order or family reference, (2) a bird’s size and (3) the colour of plumage. The indication of (3) feeding ecology, (4) distribution, (5) typical habitat and peculiar bird features is also quite frequent in [11]. The dominating components contained in the Russian definitions are: (1) the order or family reference, (2) a bird’s size, (3) the colour of plumage and (4) typical habitat. The average number of the semantic components represented in the English and French definitions equals four or five in both languages, while in the Russian definitions it comes to three.

2.2. Indication of the most frequent bird features

The English dictionaries normally indicate the genus and family a bird belongs to together with the Latin name of the commonest representative. For example, Genus Fringilla, family Fringillidae: two species, in particular the F. coelebs [7]. All the analysed Passeriformes are defined as songbirds, which points at the suborder Oscines. In the French tradition only the order and family indication is observed. In the Russian dictionaries either the order of Passeriformes or the family reference is marked.

A bird’s size mostly ranges from very large, large, small and very small. Occasionally one may come across a comparison with some familiar yard bird. For example, a waxwing has the same size as a starling [13].

The colour of plumage is marked in all the dictionaries under analysis. One can observe certain variations in the colour description of some species, as it can be seen for a chiffchaff: with drab plumage [7]; with a yellowish-brown plumage [6]; greenish brown [17]. These variations can be determined by the reference to different encyclopedic sources, by the subjective character of human colour perception and age-specific, seasonal or territorial variation of colour intensity in birds themselves.

Some lexicographic descriptions reflect a male’s plumage, which is normally bright and intense, while others show the distinction between sexes, if the species are characterized by sexual dimorphism. There are definitions where a bird’s plumage is described without any sex reference but the male’s dominating colour is implied. For example, the Golden Oriole has a bright yellow body and black wings and tail [6], [17], [13], [1], [2].

Other frequently described features are the following: 1) the bill shape, 2) the shape or length of a bird’s tail, 3) the presence of a crest or crown, 4) a bird’s general shape, 5) the character of wings or legs. When it comes to such bird characteristics as distribution, typical habitat, character of migration, diet, habits, manner of nidification and vocal behavior, they cannot be called frequent and the dictionaries do without them.

It is observed that various features of one and the same species are emphasized, if cross-cultural examination is performed. For example, the Wren is described as a short-winged bird with a short cocked tail in [7]; it is represented as a bird with a cocked tail and a thin sharp bill in [11] and it has a short cocked tail in [1], [2].

To sum up all the observations the following should be noted: 1) the revealed semantic components cover the main bird features but the set of components for individual species is not unified. A dictionary user can learn some facts from one monolingual dictionary but may fail to find them in another; 2) there is a problem of sufficiency, especially with the Russian definitions. Some of them are non-informative, as they fail to characterize a bird. For example, a chat is a bird of the family Turdidae [1], [2], [3].To state the family reference is not enough because even educated people (if they are not professional ornithologists) have a vague idea about birds that inhabit their region; 3) in ornithonymic definitions a genus-and-differentia approach looks preferable, where linguistic and encyclopedic information is expressed in a concise and typified way. With the help of brief encyclopedic elements dictionary users would be given an advantage to learn some ornithological facts without addressing specialized literature.

3.  An improved defining strategy for bird names

The suggested strategy is aimed at native speakers who will need both linguistic and encyclopedic data. The manner of arrangement of linguistic and extralinguistic information in a bird definition consists in the enumeration of obligatory components as a set of essential conditions and some optional (encyclopedic) components related to species exclusive characteristics. The discussion of the defining strategy is based on fifty-seven English definitions characterizing passerine birds. They are made with the reference to the authoritative ornithological literature [9], [10], [12], [15], [16] and the above discussed dictionaries.

3.1. Application of obligatory components

Obligatory components form the basis of an ornithonymic definition and represent diagnostic features relevant to describe a bird species. They are eight.

1) The scientific order and family reference. Species are organized conventionally by order and family. Besides, the Latin name of the commonest representative of the family or genus is desirable when one considers various species worldwide sharing the substantive names. For example, a passerine bird of the family Turdidae, Erithacus rubecula.

2) A bird’s distribution. The target birds of the suggested strategy mainly refer to the Western Palearctic and they are normally called Old World birds. In dictionary definitions they can as well go as European, Eurasian or African species.

3) Typical habitat. Since passerines can be found in all types of environments, the habitat, where a bird is frequently seen, is indicated. One can single out mostly wood- or tree-dwelling, park-dwelling, ground-dwelling birds, open country dwellers, etc. For example, a crow is characterized by various habitats, including cities and suburbs.

4) Character of migration. Species can be classified as migratory and partially migratory (if many but not all individuals leave the northern part of the breeding range in winter). The feature is not included in the description, if the bird’s winter range coincides with its breeding territory.

5) Feeding ecology. Species preferences in food are indicated as follows: insectivorous, mostly insectivorous, insectivorous and fruit-eating, insectivorous and seed-eating, mostly seed-eating, seed-eating, omnivorous.

6) A bird’s size. As it is impossible to differentiate species descriptively, saying that one bird is small and another is very small, ornithological practice may appear quite useful. In ornithology some common or prototypical birds, such as a sparrow, a starling, a thrush, a pigeon and a crow, serve as samples with which strange birds are compared in field. In the definitions the average length of prototypical birds is given in centimetres. For example, the size of the commonest sparrow, the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), equals 14-15 cm. Other birds’ size can be characterized as follows: sparrow-sized / (much) smaller than a sparrow / (much) larger than a sparrow.

7) Colour of plumage. If the sexes differ in their plumage, either the male’s dominating colour or the colour of both sexes are worth describing. For example, the male of the Crossbill has brick-red plumage, while the female is olive-brown. If a seasonal plumage change takes place, it is worth reflecting. For example, the Common Starling  has black plumage, glossed bronze-green and purple that turns speckled white in winter.

8) Typical vocalizations. A bird’s voice can often be a single feature known by a person, since passerines are mostly small birds and their regular watching can be problematic. Elements of transcriptions may appear to describe simple calls and songs. For example, the Redpoll is characterized by a rapid, sustained twitter chett-chett-chett. Birds with complex songs can be described in terms that mostly reflect the general impression of the song. For example, the song of the Bluethroat is musical and varied, including excellent mimicry. Bird calls are often compared with other familiar sounds, which helps in typifying the description. For example, the Fieldfare is noted for its cackling, squeaking and chuckling calls. In some vocal descriptions the reference to a bird whose call or song resembles the definiendum can be helpful: the Rook is characterized by a gruff Crow-like voice. Mnemonic phrases are also important. For example, the Great Tit is noted for its ringing song tea-cher tea-cher.

3.2. Application of optional components

Optional components are designed to reflect exclusive characteristics of a species. They are four.

1) A bird’s shape and other peculiar features. A bird’s shape can be described in such terms as slender, plump, stocky, stumpy or heavily built. If a species has a peculiar crest or other features that make it exclusive, the definition might cover it as well. For example, jays, larks and waxwings are typically crested.

2) Manner of nidification and the mode of nest building. The peculiarity of a colonial nesting cannot be called typical for many birds. For this reason it is worth including in the definition. For example, rooks, fieldfares, jackdaws and martins nest socially. If a bird is an excellent nest-builder, this feature cannot be neglected. For example, the Penduline Tit builds a nest hanging on bush twigs.

3) Manner of feeding. If a bird can be recognized by the manner of its feeding or its diet is extremely specialized, this fact may find its reflection. For example, the Crossbill has its bill adapted for extracting seeds from the cones of conifers.

4) Typical movements and behavioural models. In the suggested defining mode gregarious species are marked and those birds that are notable for their curious movements or habits. For example, nuthatches climb up and down tree trunks, without using their tails.

Finally, a complete definition for a chough made in accordance with the suggested strategy can be given as an example: gregarious, mostly insectivorous Eurasian and N. African passerine bird of the family Corvidae (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), noticeably larger than a pigeon, with glossy blue-black plumage, a red down curved bill and red legs, frequenting mountains and sea cliffs; noted for its Jackdaw-like voice and onomatopoeic chuff-call.

4. Final observations

The elements of standardization supported by flexibility (when it comes to optional components) can lead to a better presentation of natural organisms in monolingual dictionaries for adult native speakers. Nowadays when modern electronic dictionaries are no longer limited by space, it might be appropriate to enlarge on the content of dictionary entries. The suggested defining strategy is just a possibility and the approach itself may raise further discussion among lexicographers. Definition writing is only partially a skillful technique; it is rather a sort of art, which cannot be neglected.

It is obvious that the represented strategy can be applied not only in bird definitions covering other representatives of avifauna; its application looks reasonable for the improvement of zoonymic definitions at large. A wider application of the approach is viewed acceptable in defining other groups of objects from the natural world, for example plants.

Список литературы / References

  1. БТС – Большой толковый словарь русского языка / Сост. и гл. ред. С.А. Кузнецов. – СПб.: «Норинт». 2000. – 1536 с.
  2. МАС 3 – Словарь русского языка. Т. I–IV / Под ред. А.П. Евгеньевой. – 3-е изд. – М.: Русский язык. 1985–1988.
  3. ССРЛЯ – Словарь современного русского литературного языка. Т. 1–17. – М.: АН СССР (Т. 1–15), Наука (Т. 16–17), 1950–1965.
  4. Atkins B.T.S., Rundell M. The Oxford guide to practical lexicography / B.T.S. Atkins, M. Rundell. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. – 540 p.
  5. Bauer L. The Illusory distinction between lexical and encyclopedic / L. Bauer // Proceedings of the Eleventh International symposium on lexicography, May 2-4, 2002 / H.G. Gottlieb, J.E. Mogensen and A. Zettersten (eds.). – Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2005. – P. 111–116.
  6. CED12 – Collins English dictionary. – Complete and unabridged 2012 digital edition. – Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 2012. – URL: http://www.dictionary.com (accessed: 10.04.2016).
  7. COED11 – Concise Oxford English dictionary / Soanes C., Stevenson A. (eds). –11th edition. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  8. Hanks P. Lexical analysis: norms and exploitations / P. Hanks. –Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013. – 462 p.
  9. Hume R. RSPB complete birds of Britain and Europe / R. Hume. –London: Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 2002. – 480 p.
  10. Grzimek’s animal life encyclopedia / Hutchins M., Jackson J.A., Bock W.J., Olendorf D. (eds). Vol. 8, 10-11: Birds I, III-IV. – 2nd edition. – Farmington Hills, MI: Gale group, 2003.
  11. Larousse – Larousse dictionnaire de Franςaise en ligne [Electronic resource]. – URL: http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais (accessed: 10.04.2016).
  12. Peterson T. R. et al. Collins field guide. Birds of Britain and Europe / T. R. Peterson, G. Mountfort, P.A.D. Hollom. – London: Harper Collins Publishers, 5th revised and enlarged edition, 2004. – 320 p.
  13. PR3 – Rey-Debove J., Rey A. Le Nouveau Petit Robert. Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française / J. Rey-Debove, A. Rey. – Paris: Le Robert, 1996. – 2552 p.
  14. Rundell M. It works in practice but will it work in theory? The uneasy relationship between lexicography and matters theoretical / M. Rundell //     Proceedings of the Fifteenth EURALEX International congress, EURALEX 2012, Oslo, August 7-11, 2012  /  R.V.  Fjeld, J. M. Torjusen (eds.). –  Oslo: Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, 2012. – P. 47–92.
  15. Snow D.W., Perrins C.M. The birds of the Western Palearctic / D.W. Snow, C.M. Perrins. – Vol. 2. Passerines. – Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. – P. 1009–1694.
  16. Svensson L., Grant J.P. Collins bird guide / L. Svensson, J.P. Grant. – London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000. – 399 p.
  17. WCCD1 – Webster’s concise college dictionary. – 1st edition. – New York: Random House, 1999. – 974 p.

 Список литературы на английском языке / References in English

  1. BTS – Bol’shoy tolkovyj slovar’ russkogo yazyka [Great explanatory dictionary of the Russian language] / edited by Kuznetsov S.A. – St. Petersburgh: «Norint», 2000. – 1536 p. [in Russian]
  2. MAS3 – Slovar’ russkogo yazyka [A dictionary of the Russian language] / edited by Yevgen’eva A.P. – 3d edition. Vol. 1–4. – Moscow: Russkyj yazyk, 1985–1988. [in Russian]
  3. SSRLYa – Slovar’ sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo yazyka [A dictionary of modern Russian literary language] / edited by Chernyshev V.I. Vol. 1–17. – Moscow–Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk USSR, 1950–1965. [in Russian]
  4. Atkins B.T.S., Rundell M. The Oxford guide to practical lexicography / B.T.S. Atkins, M. Rundell. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. – 540 p.
  5. Bauer L. The Illusory distinction between lexical and encyclopedic / L. Bauer // Proceedings of the Eleventh International symposium on lexicography, May 2-4, 2002 / H.G. Gottlieb, J.E. Mogensen and A. Zettersten (eds.). – Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2005. – P. 111–116.
  6. CED12 – Collins English dictionary. – Complete and unabridged 2012 digital edition. – Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 2012. – URL: http://www.dictionary.com (accessed: 10.04.2016).
  7. COED11 – Concise Oxford English dictionary / Soanes C., Stevenson A. (eds). –11th edition. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  8. Hanks P. Lexical analysis: norms and exploitations / P. Hanks. –Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013. – 462 p.
  9. Hume R. RSPB complete birds of Britain and Europe / R. Hume. –London: Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 2002. – 480 p.
  10. Grzimek’s animal life encyclopedia / Hutchins M., Jackson J.A., Bock W.J., Olendorf D. (eds). Vol. 8, 10-11: Birds I, III-IV. – 2nd edition. – Farmington Hills, MI: Gale group, 2003.
  11. Larousse – Larousse dictionnaire de Franςaise en ligne [Electronic resource]. – URL: http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais (accessed: 10.04.2016).
  12. Peterson T. R. et al. Collins field guide. Birds of Britain and Europe / T. R. Peterson, G. Mountfort, P.A.D. Hollom. – London: Harper Collins Publishers, 5th revised and enlarged edition, 2004. – 320 p.
  13. PR3 – Rey-Debove J., Rey A. Le Nouveau Petit Robert. Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française / J. Rey-Debove, A. Rey. – Paris: Le Robert, 1996. – 2552 p.
  14. Rundell M. It works in practice but will it work in theory? The uneasy relationship between lexicography and matters theoretical / M. Rundell //     Proceedings of the Fifteenth EURALEX International congress, EURALEX 2012, Oslo, August 7-11, 2012  /  R.V.  Fjeld, J. M. Torjusen (eds.). – Oslo: Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, 2012. – P. 47–92.
  15. Snow D.W., Perrins C.M. The birds of the Western Palearctic / D.W. Snow, C.M. Perrins. – Vol. 2. Passerines. – Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. – P. 1009–1694.
  16. Svensson L., Grant J.P. Collins bird guide / L. Svensson, J.P. Grant. – London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000. – 399 p.
  17. WCCD1 – Webster’s concise college dictionary. – 1st edition. – New York: Random House, 1999. – 974 p.

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