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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 1998, Vol. 29, No. 2, Pages 269-288
(doi: 10.1162/002438998553743)
© 1998 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Emptiness of the Lexicon: Reflections on James Pustejovsky's The Generative Lexicon
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We consider Pustejovsky's account of the semantic lexicon. We discuss and reject his argument that the complexity of lexical entries is required to account for lexical generativity. Finally, we defend a sort of lexical atomism: though, strictly speaking, we concede that lexical entries are typically complex, still we claim that their complexity does not jeopardize either the thesis that lexical meaning is atomistic or the identification of lexical meaning with denotation.