From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The pursuit of lexicography is divided into two related disciplines:
- Theoretical lexicography is the scholarly discipline of analyzing and describing the semantic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language, developing theories of dictionary components and structures linking the data in dictionaries, the needs for information by users in specific types of situation, and how users may best access the data incorporated in printed and electronic dictionaries. This is sometimes referred to as metalexicography.
A person devoted to lexicography is called a lexicographer.
General lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of general dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that provide a description of the language in general use. Such a dictionary is usually called a general dictionary or LGP dictionary. Specialized lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of specialized dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that are devoted to a (relatively restricted) set of linguistic and factual elements of one or more specialist subject fields, e.g. legal lexicography. Such a dictionary is usually called a specialized dictionary or LSP dictionary.
There is some disagreement on the definition of lexicology, as distinct from lexicography. Some use "lexicology" as a synonym for theoretical lexicography; others use it to mean a branch of linguistics pertaining to the inventory of words in a particular language.
It is now widely accepted that lexicography is a scholarly discipline in its own right and not a sub-branch of linguistics, as the object of study in lexicography is the dictionary.
Practical lexicographic work involves several activities, and it is important to note that the compilation of really crafted dictionaries require careful consideration of all or some of the following aspects:
- Profiling the intended users (i.e. linguistic and non-linguistic competences) and identifying their needs
- Defining the communicative and cognitive functions of the dictionary
- Selecting and organizing the components of the dictionary
- Choosing the appropriate structures for presenting the data in the dictionary (i.e. frame structure, distribution structure, macro-structure, micro-structure and cross-reference structure)
- Selecting words and affixes for lemmatization as entries
- Selecting collocations, phrases and examples
- Choosing lemma forms for each word or part of word to be lemmatized
- Defining words
- Organizing definitions
- Specifying pronunciations of words
- Labeling definitions and pronunciations for register and dialect, where appropriate
- Selecting equivalents in bi- and polylingual dictionaries
- Translating collocations, phrases and examples in bi- and polylingual dictionaries
- Designing the best way in which users can access the data in printed and electronic dictionaries
Theoretical lexicography concerns the same aspects, but lead to the development of principles that can improve the quality of future dictionaries, for instance in terms of access to data and lexicographic information costs.
Introductory books on lexicography:
- Landau, Sidney, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, 2nd ed., 2001
- Bergenholtz, Henning/Tarp, Sven (eds.): Manual of Specialised Lexicography, 1995
- Bejoint, Henri, Modern Lexicography: An Introduction, 2000
- Hartmann, R. R. K., Teaching and Researching Lexicography, 2001
- Hartmann, R. R. K./James, Gregory (comps.): Dictionary of Lexicography, 1998/2001
- Nielsen, Sandro: The Bilingual LSP Dictionary, 1994
- Ooi, Vincent, Computer Corpus Lexicography, 1998 http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/ell/Vincent/
- Jonathon Green, "Chasing the Sun - Dictionary-Makers and the Dictionaries They Made," Pimlico, ISBN 0-7126-6216-2
- List of lexicographers
- Specialised lexicography
- English lexicology and lexicography
- Dictionary Society of North America