Lexicology - статья на английском языке

It is instructive to consider some of the reasons for this discrepancy between the scope of Soviet and American linguistics. The most obvious explanation is that Soviet linguistics was never infected with the paralysis of semantic interest which caused most scholars during the Bloomfieldian period of linguistics in the United States to abdicate all semantic investigation to other (ineffectual) sciences. Perhaps Pavlovian psychology did not hold out to linguists the seductive promises which Bloomfield and his disciples discerned in rigorous American behaviorism; at any rate, Soviet linguists as a group do not seem ever to have fallen prey to the hope that psychology (or neurology, or sociology, as the case may be) would resolve for them the difficult theoretical and methodological problems of semantic analysis. In Soviet lexicology, it seems, neither the traditionalists, who have been content to work with the categories of classical rhetoric and 19th-century historical semantics, nor the critical lexicologists in search of better conceptual tools, have ever found reason to doubt that linguistics alone is centrally responsible for the investigation of the vocabulary of languages.
A second reason for the remarkable vigor of lexicological research in the Soviet Union, in contrast to its feebleness in America, might be sought in the fact that the USSR has managed to escape that pernicious form of specialization under which the philologists have the facts and linguistics have the ideas. At least until the very recent trend toward "structural" linguistics, the boldest conceptual experimenters on the Soviet scene have by and lagre been men and women of deep learning in the history of particular languages. Under a university system stressing the teaching of languages in their full historical and literary perspective, problems of vocabulary have been respected rather than shunned.
A major stimulus to Soviet lexicology, too, has been the prodigious lexicographic activity of the USSR. For cultural reasons, and out of considerations of internal and foreign policy which need not be entered into here, foreign-language study and translation have enjoyed an importance in the Soviet Union unmatched by anything in the United States; dictionaries of all sizes and specialities for scores of languages have been required. Although planning and quality control have not always corresponded to the ambitions of the central scholarly authorities, the scale of lexicographic work in the USSR is certainly unique, and its average quality enviable. The sheer number of qualified lexicographic workers and concerned institutions has produced a need and an opportunity for sharing experiences and criticisms, and in favorable cases such exchanges have yielded valuable results for general, theoretical lexicology as well as for the practical problems of dictionary making. Thus, for example, the system for classifying phraseological units devised by V. V. Vinogradov after decades of research in the history of Russian vocabulary has in turn been widely adopted by lexicographers working on other languages. A discussion of problems of homonymy organized by the Leningrad division of the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences in December, 1957, in response to a controversial article attracted a score of scholars with theoretical sophistication, factual command of the histories of various languages, and personal lexicographic experience. A similar gathering in the United States would be difficult to imagine. The series Leksikograficeskij sbornik (1957 ff.), already in its fifth volume, annually exemplifies the lexicological fruits of confronting theory-minded dictionary makers from various fields. In sum, when practicing Soviet lexicographers are taken to task for failing to consider general lexicological principles or preliminary investigations, the critics have clear standards to which they can refer.
The fourth reason, and certainly not the least, for the difference in the state of lexicological research in the two countries, is the fact that Russian linguistics, like its counterpart in most countries, is committed to the cultivation of the standard language, whereas American linguistics has intimately associated itself with anarchic attitudes toward the maintenance and development of norms of English usage. <...> The normative spirit bolstered by the full moral and factual support of linguistic scholarship, not only results in the standardization of specific lexical variables, but also creates an atmosphere for teaching the native language in which lexicological investigation can flourish, while in America, by contrast, the field has hardly been sown.
(From "Soviet and East European Linguistics. Current Trends in Linguistics" by Uriel Weinreich, Lexicology)