In this article the author proposes a solution to the classical problem in European lexical semantics of delimiting lexical fields, a problem that most field-oriented semanticists involved in practical lexico-semantic analysis have found themselves confronted with. What are the criteria for saying that the word "harvest" belongs to the same lexical field as "farm", "peasant" and "cattle", and that "hospital" does not? The author proposes a test based on associative anaphoric relations and it is argued that this test constitutes a useful tool for deciding inclusion in a lexical field. The test is based on observations of the role that lexical fields play in discourse comprehension. This focus on the discoursal and interpretative functions of lexical fields constitute a new approach to the lexical field, a phenomenon which traditionally has been studied in a systems-oriented perspective.
Cahiers De Lexicologie, 1998, Vol 72, Issue 2, p. 131-147