On the Nature of Signposts

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorJanet DeCesaris
TitleOn the Nature of Signposts
AbstractDictionary entries for highly polysemous words have long proved difficult for lexicographers and dictionary users alike. From the lexicographer’s point of view, senses and possibly subsenses need to be identified, and tough decisions must be made about the order of senses within the entry. From the user’s standpoint, long entries require a certain amount of time and patience, because users must often wade through large amounts of information before finding the answer to their initial query. In response to this, lexicographers working on English monolingual learner’s dictionaries have introduced “access facilitating devices” Lew’s (2010), also known as pointers, guide words or signposts, to help users disambiguate and thus find information more quickly. This paper addresses the nature of signposts: what sort of information do they convey, and what semantic relationship do they have with the headword? In our paper, we will analyze several entries for nouns and adjectives in four learner’s dictionaries of English (CALD, LDOCE, MEDAL and OALD) and discuss the differences across dictionaries. Our analysis shows a preference for synonyms, as opposed to superordinates or contextual information, in the English dictionaries analyzed. We then show how signposts are being used in the DAELE, an ongoing project of a learner’s dictionary of Spanish.
SessionLexicography and semantic theory
Keywordssignposts, pedagogical lexicography, English, Spanish
author = {Janet DeCesaris},
title = {On the Nature of Signposts},
pages = {532--540},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 15th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2012},
month = {aug},
date = {7-11},
address = {Oslo,Norway},
editor = {Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld and Julie Matilde Torjusen},
publisher = {Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo},
isbn = {978-82-303-2228-4},