Lexiconical Gap

Another phrase from the Frenemy episode of NPR’s This American Life.  A lexiconical gap is the name given to an absence of a necessary word in a language.  Linguistics suggests that if two words ever become fully synonymous, both in their literal and semantic meetings, one word will disappear.  It is a free marketplace of ideas philosophy.  However, the inverse doesn’t seem to be true.  Just because a word is needed, doesn’t mean it will appear.

The best example offered is that in our English we have a word for a child who lost his parents (an orphan), a woman who lost her spouse (a widow), but we have no word for a parent who lost a child.  This is a lexiconical gap.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: