An Historical and Comparative Encyclopaedia of Chinese Conceptual Schemes
General Editor: Christoph Harbsmeier 何莫邪; Associate Editor: Jiang Shaoyu 蔣紹愚
About TLS / Features
Lexical entries (meanings) in TLS are to be ranked with respect to their currency on a scale from 5 "extremely common default meaning" to 1 "hapax legomenon, i.e. attested only once (or twice)".
According to the definitions in Collins English Dictionary a speaker wishing to understand the sentence "The cat sat on the mat" should have to choose between 41 310 000 combinations of meanings of theses words in order to understand the sentence, given that the number of meanings in that dictionary is cat (24), sit (18), on (25), mat (17), the (15). (J. Sinclair 1998)
Clearly, this is NOT the kind of choice a speaker of English makes. Part of the reason is that word meanings are ranked with respect to currency in the native speaker's mind. TLS aims to rank lexical entries for degree of currency gradually, as a sufficiently varied corpus of analysed data becomes available. The number of cases in TLS registered does NOT, of course, necessarily represent degree of currency, and therefore this assignment of rank will remain subjective.