Traduction et Langues
Volume 20, Numéro 1, Pages 341-357

Quand Des Signes Linguistiques Deviennent Des Entrées Des Dictionnaires : Le Cas Du Dictionnaire Historique De La Langue Française When Linguistic Signs Become Entries Of Dictionaries : The Case Of French Historical Dictionary

Auteurs : Mabrak Sami .


When reading a text, listening to a speech, or learning a language, we almost always check a language dictionary to understand the meaning(s) of difficult words. In this regard, linguistics, according to Ferdinand De Saussure, defines words as linguistic signs that have been constructed from an arbitrary relationship between a signifier and a signified. In the context of this definition of words, the dictionary has an important linguistic function, namely re-expressing the arbitrary relationship between words and their meaning through the explanation and contextualization of a new relationship between entries and their lexicographic definitions. Following this observation, we found it paramount and tempting to be interested in studying and analysing this new relationship. The importance of this study lies in the fact that the dictionary is generally the first source to consult when it comes to searching for the meaning(s) and use(s) of words. It is in this sense that we assume that the lexicographer, through his dictionary, restores a motivated relationship between the entries and their lexicographic definitions. To verify this hypothesis, we adopt an analytical and descriptive study on a corpus that is extracted by referring to the Historical Dictionary of the French Language. Based on the results of our study, particularly the nature of information on the etymological order in the morphological and semantic making and evolution of the French lexicon, we, therefore, were able to confirm that the Historical Dictionary of the French Language allows re-expressing a new motivated relationship between the entries and their lexicographic definitions: meaning(s) and contextual use(s). The linguistic process in fact explains how the arbitrary relationship that links the signifier and the signified of a linguistic sign becomes a motivated relationship between the entry and its lexicographic definition in the Historical Dictionary. It is noted also that the Historical Dictionary contributes to the use and enrichment of the French lexicon, particularly in terms of its morphological and semantic evolution. A major conclusion is related to linguistic signs which, by becoming inputs in the Historical Dictionary, acquire an autonomy which could be partial or total, and this depends on the lexicographic treatment of linguistic signs in the Historical Dictionary. The article is meant to provide a new way of approaching the notion of the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign, and this by taking into account the lexicographical specificities of entries in language dictionaries in general and in the Historical Dictionary in particular.

Mots clés

linguistic sign; signified and signifier; arbitrariness; dictionary entry; motivated sign; lexicographic definition; Historical Robert