REVIEW of Werner Huellen. Networks and Knowledge in ‘Roget’s Thesaurus’. New York: Oxford University Press. 2009. vii + 217 pages. ISBN: 978 - 019-955323-5."
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As an avid user and reader of dictionaries and thesauruses, Huellen has obviously considered not just what a dictionary or a thesaurus purports to do, but why and how these texts have semiotic value. What is the purpose of studying the history of lexicography? Older knowledge- and logic-based dictionaries or thesauruses provide evidence (the dictionary as text and the text as semiotic object) for current work in cognitive theory and database construction just because those linguistic artifacts are products and consequences of what we call cognition and linguistic competence. This posthumous collection Werner Huellen is not the final word, but an invitation to continue an illuminating and suggestive research agenda. The cognitive approach Huellen employs is a synthesis of a significant cross representation of work in cognitive theory and generative semantics. The work of Pustejovsky (1996) receives particular mention (however, other significant works of cognitive and linguistic semantics of recent vintage are duly considered, noted and cited). There is not space in this review to do justice to the intricacies of Huellen’s hypothesis and argumentation; suffice it to say that the chapter, along with its companions, offers a suggestive and thought-provoking discussion on the interplay of linguistic theory, the history of lexical and semantic theories and lexicographic practice.