Comprehensive psycholexical classification of Polish person-descriptive terms

Background: Lexical research based on the assumption that all the main human characteristics are encoded in the natural language constitutes one of the alternative ways of developing a taxonomy of individual differences in psychology. The majority of studies to date, including Polish ones, have been restricted to the analysis of the adjective lexicon, which means their results are at risk of reductionism. The aim of the presented research was to develop a classification of the complete Polish lexicon of person-descriptive terms (adjectives, participles, adverbs, nouns, and verbs).
Participants and procedure: We analyzed 100,000 entries found in a universal dictionary of Polish and identified 27,813 terms used to describe human characteristics. The identified person-descriptive terms were classified by a team of 13 trained judges into 16 subcategories. The judges’ taxonomic decisions were tested for validity and reliability.
Results: Personality (dispositional) descriptors (5,598) constitute 20.1% of the Polish lexicon of person-descriptors; this includes 1,641 adjectives and participles, 612 adverbs, 1,442 attribute-nouns, 1,029 type-nouns, and 916 verbs. The analysis of the semantic redundancy of terms representing different parts of speech but having the same common morpheme among dispositional descriptors revealed 1,979 morphemes with distinct meanings. Only 64% of these morphemes are represented by adjectives.
Conclusions: Adjectives constitute the largest group of personality (dispositional) descriptors but do not account for the entire Polish personality lexicon. The results of the study are a point of departure for research into the specificity of the structure of personality descriptions in the Polish language using various linguistic categories and for a comprehensive study on the entire Polish personality lexicon.
individual differences, psycholexical taxonomy, personality lexicon, Polish language
Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 2019, Vol. 7, Issue 2, s. 142-154
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