Lexical Field: Definition, Examples and Characteristics

The term lexical field refers to vocabulary related to a topic. For example, the words Rain, Wind, Fog, Cold, Cloud, Umbrella, Rain, Sunshine, Storm, and Storm can be grouped in the Weather vocabulary field.
A lexical field represents a part of reality represented by a set of related words. Words in a semantic field share common semantic properties. Schools are often identified by topics such as body parts, geography, disease, skin color, food, and kinship.

Lexical field

A vocabulary field consists of a set of lexical units (words) with multiple meanings. All members of a set belong to the same grammatical class (noun, adjective, verb). Furthermore, while both cover the full range of related semantics, they also present certain contrasts.

Other websites say that vocabulary fields are words from different grammar classes, but that is incorrect information. According to linguistics professor Scandal Vidal, they are part of the same grammar class.

Examples of vocabulary fields are the verbs walk, run, jump, jump, jog, and climb (same grammatical category). This means that the movements are done with the feet.

For example, the words tamal, tortilla, etc. belong to the same lexical field. They are all nouns. They all refer to foods originating from Central America, made with cornmeal, wrapped in leaves, and stuffed with various fillings.

The concept of the lexical field was first introduced on March 12, 1931, by the German linguist Jost Trier (1894-1970). According to his theory, the vocabulary of a language resembles a mosaic.

Each word represents a part of it. They are grouped into larger units called lexical fields.

The combination of all these mosaic pieces forms the overall vocabulary. The meaning of a lexical unit, therefore, depends on the meaning of other components of another larger system called language. This system is constantly evolving with the emergence of new meanings.

Characteristics of a lexical field

Same Lexical Category

Lexical category refers to a class in which the lexical elements of a language are subdivided according to their morphological and syntactic behavior.

In traditional grammar, they are called word classes. Among them are nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Therefore, all members of a lexical field must be of the same lexical type. For verbs, all elements of that field are also verbs. This one is for walking, running, jumping, jumping, jogging, and climbing.

Relevant shared meaning

Words consisting of atomic units of meaning called seems cannot be expressed independently.

For example, the word bed means a piece of furniture for a person to lie on, with a frame and a mattress or table on top of the frame.

Two or more words are said to belong to the same lexical field if they have the same meaning or are semantically related.

In the previous example, the other words in the bed vocabulary field are sofa bed, crib, and couch. What they have in common is furniture for people to lie down on.

Similarly, each element within the group including walking, running, jumping, jumping, jogging, and climbing has some minimal semantic properties. But they also have a common schema. Action is done with your feet.

The contrast of precisely defined meanings

Each particular element of the lexical field represents a shared half, but they all have contrasting relationships that distinguish them.

On the one hand, both nouns refer to tortillas wrapped in leaves, as mentioned at the beginning. However, there are noticeable differences.

Humitas are made from fresh, unripe corn and wrapped in corn husks. Haruka is cornmeal wrapped in banana leaves.

Similarly, there is a contrast between, for example, a bed and a crib. They come in different sizes (cribs are considerably smaller than beds). It also has another purpose (baby cradle).


In a given lexical field, relationships of similarity and contrast are established with respect to semantic features. In this way, each field denotes a segment of reality symbolized by a set of related words.

In this way, the words that are part of a lexical field enter into relationships of meaning or meaning with each other. Each word delimits the meaning of the next word in the field and is delimited by it; that is, it marks an area or range within the semantic domain.

Take as an example the words walk, run, jump, jump, jog, and climb. As mentioned, these belong to the same lexical field, since they share the same distinctive feature of meaning: action or movement performed with the legs. However, not all share all the traits:

  • Go from point A to point B: walking, running, jumping, jogging, and climbing
  • Walking horizontally: walking, running, and jogging
  • Walking at a considerable speed: running and jogging
  • Ascend using legs and hands: Climb
  • Ascend: jump and jump

This same exercise can be carried out with the bed, sofa-bed, crib, and divan group. As already established, the shared sema is a piece of furniture used for people to lie down. Other distinctive features would be:

  • Used for sitting: sofa bed and divan
  • Used for young people: crib
  • Elongated seat: daybed

It can be said then that these delimitations are configuring the map of the meaning of each word. In this map, there are shared features and different features.

This information is constantly used by each user of the language when making their vocabulary choices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button