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In opposition to the realism and the universalism which have long been dominant in linguistics, this article proposes a theoretical perspective in the domain of lexical semantics. It is a question of taking a new look at the process of the formation of meaning in natural languages, in particular here in the case of the French language, based on research in cognitive science and social science. The meaning of words thus appears not as a description of phenomena, but as the conceptualization of a human experience specific to a given culture. It is then necessary to postulate two levels of the formation of meaning, each with its own functionality: (i) in natural language, there is the formation of a experiential concept born by a word, not attached to an object in the world, but carrying a mental representation with its unique and specific configuration apt to be applied in discourse to any object which may be conceived in the same manner; (ii) in discourse, all the words of a statement collectively elaborate a referential domain within which each concept carried by a word constructs its reference to a particular object. This approach to meaning in terms of experience and concepts makes it possible not only to solve the problem that the tradition calls “polysemy”, but also to account for inter-linguistic phenomena of borrowings and code-mixing.
Pour citer cet article :Honeste Marie-Luce (2015/2). An Experiential Approach in Lexical Semantics. In Gapenne Olivier (Eds), Cognitive Sciences: prospective reflections, Intellectica, 64, (pp.87-113), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2015.1014.