Meaningless Dictionaries

By November 17, 2016,
Page 409-419
Author Maarten Janssen
Title Meaningless Dictionaries
Abstract The creation of word meaning is one of the most time consuming parts of creating a dictionary. Although it is commonly thought that providing definitions for words is the primary function of dictionaries, it is not the most frequent one. Most dictionaries are used for looking up much more basic information, such as to see whether a word exists or to see whether it is spelled correctly. Dictionaries are relatively good at providing complete definitions for individual words but are not necessarily well equipped for more basic tasks. For many of these smaller tasks, users would be better off using smaller databases-or dictionaries-that focus only on the information the user is looking for rather than searching in a general language dictionary. A dictionary that leaves out most of the details traditionally included in the lexical entry not only makes it easier for the user to find the information he is looking for but also allows the lexicographer to put more focus on the relevant data. It does this by focussing on a single type of information; it becomes more feasible to treat it completely, consistently and coherently for the entire lexicon. The Open Source Lexical Information Network-henceforth OSLIN-is an attempt to create such singe-task lexical resources. This paper explains both the advantages and problems of such an approach.
Session 1. Computational Lexicography and Lexicology
author = {Maarten Janssen},
title = {Meaningless Dictionaries},
pages = {409-419},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2008},
month = {jul},
date = {15-19},
address = {Barcelona, Spain},
editor = {Elisenda Bernal, Janet DeCesaris},
publisher = {Institut Universitari de Linguistica Aplicada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra},
isbn = {978-84-96742-67-3},