What is a Lexicon?
The word lexicon has a number of closely-related meanings, which can easily lead to confusion and may cause the word to be used in an awkward way. A lexicon is the vocabulary of a certain language, subject or branch of knowledge. It can describe either an abstract, generally known body of terminology or a physical collection of words and definitions used in a particular profession, subject or style.
Lexicon can refer to a general dictionary of a language (as in ‘’lexicon of the Hebrew language’’) and also a narrow printed compilation of words within some sphere (as in “a medical lexicon’’ or ‘’ a physics lexicon’’ or ‘’a business lexicon’’. Similarly, lexicon can refer both to the vocabulary of a specific group of people (‘’ the lexicon of French’’) or to the general language used by an unspecified or small group of people like teenagers, who have their own vocabulary or slang.
Examples of Lexicons
- The lexicon of soccer (called ‘’football’’ outside of the United States) includes terms such as linesman, friendly match, yellow card, penalty shootout, result, fixture, referee and draw.
- The lexicon of a stock trader include terms such as delayed quotes, futures contract, limit order, margin account, short selling, stop order, bull run, bear run, trend line and watch list.
- The lexicons of law include terms such as Jurisprudence, litigant, plaintiff, sub-judice, doctrine, accused, acquittal, ad litem, ad damnnum, damages, unconstitutional, warrant etc.
Vocabulary is the list of words a person knows of a particular language. Every language has a vocabulary of many thousands of words, though not all are in active use, and some are known only to relatively few speakers. Every language has a different vocabulary, but every language provides the grammatical mechanisms for combining its stock of words to express an open-ended range of concepts.
Educators often consider four types of vocabulary: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening vocabulary refers to the words we need to know to understand what we hear. Speaking vocabulary consists of the words we use when we speak. Reading vocabulary refers to the words we need to know to understand what we read. Writing vocabulary consists of words we use in writing.
Difference Between Lexicon And Vocabulary In Tabular Form
|BASIS OF COMPARISON||LEXICON||VOCABULARY|
|Description||A lexicon is the vocabulary of a certain language, subject or branch of knowledge.||Vocabulary is the list of words a person knows of a particular language.|
|Context||Lexicons do not change under any linguistic context.||Vocabulary can have a different meaning under different linguistic context.|
|Scope||Lexicons are narrower in scope of usage as they are only used in a particular profession, subject or style.||Vocabularies have a large scope of usage and applicability.|
|Comprehension||All lexicons within a certain profession, branch of knowledge or subject are known to all its users.||Not all vocabularies are known to users of a certain language.|
|Nature||Lexicon is only relative to a group of persons.||Vocabulary is inherent to a language.|