Specialized subject-matter labels: Exodistinctive versus endoprofiling

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The present paper advances an argument that recent developments in the field of lexicography enable deployment of two types of specialized subject-matter labels: endoprofiling (for lexemes that are characteristic of a field, that lexically profile it, whether restricted to that particular field or also part of the general vocabulary) and exodistinctive (for lexemes generally not found outside the field - and thus a subset of those marked by the endoprofiling label). Only exodistinctive labels have been widely used in traditional lexicographic labeling and discussed in the metalexicographic literature; yet the current needs for human-user-interface dictionaries and machine-readable databases for natural language processing require that endoprofiling labels be consistently added to metalexicographic discussions and the underlying structure of some monolingual dictionary databases. This paper argues for the need to recognize both label types in theory and for a consistent two-pronged labeling strategy in practice: overt for exodistinctive and, in dictionaries with such need, underlying for endoprofiling labels. Relying on theory and case studies, the paper further points to problem areas in current deployment of subject-matter labels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-88
Number of pages59
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Changes in lexicography
  • Human-user versus machine-readable dictionaries
  • Lexicographic strategies
  • Subject-matter marking
  • Usage labels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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