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Lexical Gaps

  1. Maarten Janssen

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0693

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Janssen, M. 2012. Lexical Gaps. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


When talking about words, linguists mostly focus on those words that are an established part of the vocabulary. However, in some cases it is useful to refer to the words that are not part of the vocabulary: the nonexisting words. Instead of referring to nonexisting words, it is common to speak about lexical gaps, since the nonexisting words are indications of “holes” in the lexicon of the language that could be filled.


  • morphology;
  • semantics;
  • vocabulary