Making a Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English

By November 17, 2016,
Page 181-189
Author Diana Lea
Title Making a Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English
Abstract This paper gives an account of the development of the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English, a dictionary for non-native-English-speaking students who are studying academic subjects at tertiary level through the medium of English. First, a corpus of academic English was created, using high-quality texts from a broad range of disciplines, maintaining a balance between textbooks, containing typical student reading material, and journal articles, modelling expert academic writing. Drawing on the corpus, and on previous research in the field, a core headword list of “general academic vocabulary” was drawn up. This list was continually supplemented with necessary defining words, complements, collocates, synonyms and antonyms of these words as the work of compiling the dictionary entries progressed. In compiling the entries, particular challenges were encountered in reconciling the academic and pedagogic requirements of the dictionary. This can be seen, for example, in decisions about sense division and the wording of definitions and also in the selection of example sentences from the corpus. Editors had to find ways to represent academic language faithfully whilst making it accessible to learners. The result is a genuinely academic learner’s dictionary that should offer real help to learners with their academic writing.
Session The Dictionary-Making Process
Keywords learner’s dictionary; academic English; EAP; corpus
author={Diana Lea},
title={Making a Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English },
booktitle={Proceedings of the 16th EURALEX International Congress},
address={Bolzano, Italy},
editor={Abel, Andrea and Vettori, Chiara and Ralli, Natascia},
publisher={EURAC research},