Lexicography in the 21st century

Lexicography in the 21st century: In honour of Henning Bergenholtz. Ed. by Sandro Nielsen and Sven Tarp. (Terminology and lexicography research and practice 12.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. xi, 341. ISBN 9789027223364. $149 (Hb).

Reviewed by Niladri Sekhar Dash, Indian Statistical Institute, India

This useful volume offers new avenues for lexicography and touches on many issues vital to it.

In Ch. 1, Rufus H. Gouws shows that neither space-saving nor linguistic motivations suffice as criteria for macrostructural ordering procedures, arguing that the use of nesting and niching is permissible only to satisfy lexicographic functions. Sandro Nielsen, in the following chapter, suggests that reviewers should evaluate dictionaries through lexicographic, factual, and linguistic approaches, keeping in mind the three features of functions, data, and structures.

In Ch. 3, Sven Tarp distinguishes between concrete user needs and needs related to specific situations and shows some of the possibilities made available to lexicography by information technology. Herbert E. Wiegand shows in the following chapter that hybrid text constituent structures of dictionary articles are represented through hybrid article micro- and partial-structures. Explicitness and information value of hybrid textual structures are useful in homogeneous structures.

Addressing user needs, in Ch. 5, Sven-Göran Malmgren argues that information categories in monolingual dictionaries should serve production and reception purposes, and in Ch. 6, Patrick Leroyer describes the use of dictionaries by tourists. Lars S. Vikør presents in Ch. 7 a critical assessment of dictionaries as tools in language planning and analyzes lexicographical means of language standardization. As part of a discussion about specialized lexicographical needs, Bo Svensén argues in Ch. 8 that subject-field classification is necessary for compiling specialized dictionaries and assesses the efforts made for preparing an international edition of a handbook of lexicography in Swedish.

In Ch. 9, Pedro A. Fuertes-Olivera makes some proposals for inclusion in a planned English-Spanish online dictionary of accounting, as systematic introductions are useful in cognitive and communicative situations, such as specialized translation. In Ch. 10, D. J. Prinsloo reflects on the use of corpora and such lexicographic tools in dictionary making as corpus creation, annotation, processing, and dictionary writing, as vital components for future corpus-based lexicography. Franziskus Geeb shows in the chapter that follows that well-formed definitions of lexicographical data are useful for automated chatbot. Contexts, in which lexicographical data are used as the knowledge base for a chatbot, can enhance the rate of success of such data.

Under the premise that description and explanation of collocations make a dictionary more user-friendly, Marie-Claude L’Homme describes in Ch. 12 a methodology for encoding and organizing collocations in a French terminological database. In Ch. 13, Jón H. Jónsson argues for using an onomasiological approach to dictionary description as it focuses more clearly on the entire vocabulary and internal relations between lexical units than has been possible through semasiological description of individual words. Following a corpus-based approach, Thomas Herbst argues for including meaning in monolingual dictionaries. In Ch. 14, he discusses different ways in which information of complementation and valency patterns are represented in dictionaries for foreign learners of English and German.

The volume ends with a biographical sketch of Henning Bergenholtz, in whose honor the book was composed, who believed that a dictionary is a tool that helps users solve problems encountered in communicative, cognitive, and operative situations.