Reviewed by Dimitrios Ntelitheos, United Arab Emirates University
This book contains a comprehensive discussion of lexicographic theory and practice. It provides a systematic survey of lexicographic practices from a linguistic perspective and discusses extensively lexicographic methodology.
Ch. 1 is an introduction to the field of lexicography. The author situates lexicography within the broader field of linguistics, discussing its relation with other fields (such as lexicology), and listing the types of information that can occur in dictionary entries. Ch. 2 discusses the types of dictionaries that are available, distinguishing between them in terms of language use (e.g. native language describing terms in that language), time (e.g. synchronic versus diachronic dictionaries), specialization (e.g. general-purpose versus specialized dictionaries), and size properties (e.g. pocket versus professional dictionaries). Ch. 3 examines methodological issues by discussing processes of data collection and selection. This includes primary sources such as corpora and the internet as well as secondary sources such as earlier dictionaries, grammars, and specialized studies. Data selection also involves processes of establishing authenticity of selected data, representativeness, and relevance to the needs of dictionary users.
Ch. 4 addresses the internal structure of dictionaries, describing the main components, including structure indicators and other devices of textual condensation. Ch. 5 concentrates on the ‘lemma’, which is the lexical item that forms the dictionary entry. Establishing lemmas involves taking into account such issues as lexical semantics, including homonymy and polysemy, multiword lexical items and idioms, and abbreviations and clippings. Additional issues arising from spelling and word division are considered in Ch. 6, while Ch. 7 turns to issues of pronunciation and its notational representation. Ch. 8 looks at morphological problems such as inflectional and derivational morphemes and how this information should be represented in each dictionary entry. The more serious issue of deciding part-of-speech membership for a lemma is introduced in Ch. 9. The three subsequent chapters are dedicated to specific constructions, collocations, and idioms and other fixed word combinations.
Ch. 13 discusses meaning descriptions in monolingual dictionaries, while Ch. 14 takes on equivalents in bilingual dictionaries. Ch. 15 introduces the notion of examples and how they are used to illustrate meaning. Chs. 16 and 17 examine the inclusion of encyclopedic information and illustration to further accommodate meaning. Ch. 18 discusses the marking of special meanings in a provided context, and Ch. 19 concentrates on etymological issues. Chs. 20, 21, 22, and 23 discuss microstructure (the structure of information in a lemma), macrostructure (the structure of lemma listing), megastructure (the relation between dictionary components), and crossreference structure (a guide to different places in the dictionary).
The final chapters of the book turn the discussion to practical issues. Ch. 24 describes the parameters involved in different dictionary projects; Ch. 25 lists the legal and ethical aspects involved in those projects; and Ch. 26 describes electronic dictionaries. Finally, Ch. 27 discusses dictionary use, and Ch. 28 provides a detailed discussion of criticism directed towards dictionaries, including the examination, analysis, and evaluation of existing dictionaries.
This handbook is written in short but comprehensive sections that cover most issues related directly or indirectly to the creation of a dictionary. Each chapter is accompanied by a literature section that provides references for further reading. The book is a valuable contribution to the field of lexicography and serves as an important reference point for professional and aspiring lexicographers, field-workers that collect lexicographic data, other dictionary workers, language and linguistics students and academics, translators, and anyone else interested in language.