Why Dictionaries are no Better Than They are – and no Worse

By November 23, 2016,
Page 49-60
Author Robert Ilson
Title Why Dictionaries are no Better Than They are – and no Worse
Abstract 1) Why Dictionaries are no better than they are:- Lexicography is beset with problems at three levels:- 1.1) Metalexicography (i.e lexicographic theory), which includes linguistic theory; 1.2) Lexicography Proper (i.e the confection of dictionaries; 1.3) Dictionnairique (i.e the organisation of lexicographic projects and the selling of their products). Or, in plainer words, problems about what to say, how to say it, and how to present it. Many such problems stem from the failure to generalise best practice across genres and languages, and from the failure to exploit fully the Explanatory Technique of Exemplification. 2) Why Dictionaries are no worse than they are:- 2.1) Dictionary-users, as native speakers of at least one human language, already know a great deal about language in general and about the world, which enables them to supplement and interpret correctly the information offered by dictionaries; 2.2) Many dictionary-users come from dictionnairate communities, in which dictionaries and their conventions are widespread and well known.
Session Plenary Lectures
Keywords metalexicography; lexicography proper; dictionnairique
author={Robert Ilson},
title={Why Dictionaries are no Better Than They are – and no Worse},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 17th EURALEX International Congress},
address={Tbilisi, Georgia},
editor={Tinatin Margalitadze, George Meladze},
publisher={Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi University Press},