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Review of  Lexicography

Reviewer: Niladri Sekhar Dash
Book Title: Lexicography
Book Author: Reinhard Rudolf Karl Hartmann
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Linguistic Field(s): Lexicography
Issue Number: 16.2155

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Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 12:09:27 +0530 (IST)
From: Niladri Sekhar Dash
Subject: Lexicography: Critical Concepts, Volume 2

EDITOR: Hartmann, R. R. K.
TITLE: Lexicography
SUBTITLE: Critical Concepts
SERIES: Critical Concepts in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
YEAR: 2003

Niladri Sekhar Dash, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India

[This is the second part of a three-part review. -- Eds.]


The second volume contains 25 papers divided into three broad parts. Part
4 (Historical Perspectives) aims at making contributions to our knowledge
of how lexicographic traditions have developed over the centuries (9
chapters). Part 5 (Regional Perspectives) gives an impression of global
diversity, between Europe and Asia and other countries (8 chapters). Part
6 (Linguistic Perspectives) highlights a close interface between
lexicographers and linguists that contributes towards the overall growth
and development of both disciplines (8 chapters). Since the basic aim of
dictionary developers is to provide linguistic information accurately to
the users, they probably cannot ignore the relevance of linguists in their


Chapter 22 contains Thomas Dyche and William Pardons A New General English
Dictionary (1735) written by DeWitt T Starnes and Gertrude E. Noyes. It
was first published in Starnes, DeWitt T. and Noyes, Gertrude E. (1946)
The English Dictionary from Cawdrey to Johnson 1604-1755. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press. (2nd revised edition, Stein, G. (Ed.)
(1991) Pp. 126-138. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Chapter 23 contains Conclusion written by Tetsuro Hayashi. The paper was
first published in Hayashi, Tetsuro (1978) The Theory of English
Lexicography 1530-1791. Pp. 133-139. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Chapter 24 contains The Encylopedie relation to the nine predecessors
written by Frank A. Kafker. The article was first published in Kafker,
Frank, A. (Ed.) (1981) Notable Encyclopedias of the 17th Centuries: Nine
Predecessors of the encyclopedie. Pp. 223-237. Oxford: The Voltaire

Chapter 25 contains The contribution of historical and comparative
linguistics written by Robert L. Collison. The source of the paper is
Collison, Robert L. (1982) A History of Foreign-Language Dictionaries. Pp.
125-140. Oxford: B. Blackwell.

Chapter 26 contains The history of pronunciation in English-language
dictionaries written by Arthur J. Bronstein. The paper was first published
in Hartmann, R. R. K. (Ed.) (1986) The History of Lexicography. Pp. 23-33.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Chapter 27 contains Lexicographic archeology: comparing dictionaries of
the same family written by Robert F. Ilson. The paper first appeared in
Hartmann, R. R. K. (Ed.) (1986) The History of Lexicography. Pp. 127-136.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Chapter 28 contains The three-century recension in Spanish and English
lexicography written by Roger J. Steiner. It first appeared in Hartmann,
R. R. K. (Ed.) (1986) The History of Lexicography. Pp. 229-239. Amsterdam:
John Benjamins

Chapter 29 contains Gove and Webster's Third: The legacy written by
Herbert C. Morton. The article first published in Morton, Herbert C.
(1994) The Story of Websters Third. Philip Gove's Controversial Dictionary
and Its Critics. Pp. 267-280. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 30 contains Murray and his European counterparts written by Noel
E. Osselton. The paper first appeared in Mugglestone, L. (Ed.) (2000)
Lexicography and the OED. Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest. Pp. 59-76.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 31 contains The influence of Arabic lexicography written by John
A. Haywood. The paper first appeared in Haywood, John A. (1959) Arabic
Lexicography. Pp. 115-123. Leiden: E. J. Brill (2nd revised edition, 1965).

Chapter 32 contains Current trends in Indian lexicography written by
Sumitra M. Katre. It was first published in Zgusta, L. (Ed.) (1980) Theory
and Method in Lexicography: Western and non-western Perspective. Pp. 177-
189. Columbia, SC: Hornbeam Press.

Chapter 33 contains Chinese lexicography past and present written by XUE
Shiqi. This is an updated version of the paper first published in
Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America. 4:151-
169 (1982).

Chapter 34 contains Innovative practices in French monolingual learners
dictionaries as compared with their English counterparts written by Marie-
Noelle Lamy. It was first published in Ilson, R. F. (ed.) (1985)
Dictionaries, Lexicography and Language Learning. Pp. 25-34. Oxford:
Pergamon Press/British Council.

Chapter 35 contains Lexicography in Australia written by Arthur Delbridge.
The paper was first published in Lexikos. 2: 64-72 (1992).

Chapter 36 contains A survey of contemporary Italian lexicography Luca
Serianni. It is the updated and translated version of the paper first
published in Longo, Pessina H. (Ed.) (1994) Atti del Seminario
Internazionale di Study sul Lessico. Pp. 29-43. Bologna: CLUEB.

Chapter 37 contains Lexicography of the Persian language, with special
reference to lexicomputing written by Ahmad Taherian. It is an updated
version of the paper included in McArthur, T. and Kernerman, I. (Eds.)
(1998) Lexicography in Asia. Pp. 143-148. Tel Aviv: Password.

Chapter 38 contains Towards the formulation of a metalexicographically
motivated model for the national lexicography units in South Africa
written by Rufus H. Gouws. It is an updated and revised version of the
paper included in Weigand, H. E. (ed.) (2000) Woerterbuecher in der
Diskussion IV. Pp. 109-133. Tuebingen: Niemeyer.

Chapter 39 contains The Dictionary: Study of the vocabulary written by
Henry Sweet. It was first published in Sweet, Henry (1899) The Practical
Study of Language: A Guide for Teachers and Learners. London: J. M. Dent.
(Reprinted 1964, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 139-153).

Chapter 40 contains Special grammatical dictionaries for indigenous
languages written by Doris A. Bartholomew and Louise C. Schoenhals. The
paper is taken from Bartholomew, Doris A. and Schoenhals, Louise C. (1983)
Bilingual Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages. Pp. 161-177. Mexico:
Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Chapter 41 contains Australian Aboriginal lexicography written by Peter K.
Austin. It was the revised and updated version of the introduction of
Austin, Peter K. (ed.) (1983) Australian Aboriginal Lexicography. Pp. v-
ix. Canberra: Australian National University, Pacific Linguistics Series

Chapter 42 contains Lexicographical treatment of idioms and proverbs
written by HENG Xiao-jun. The paper is taken from General Introduction in
Chinese-English Dictionary of Idioms and Proverbs compiled by HENG Xiao-
jun and ZHANG Xue-zhi. Pp. iii-xxvii. 1988. Tuebingen: Niemeyer.

Chapter 43 contains Lexicographical treatment of affixational morphology:
A case study of four Swahili dictionaries written by Charles M.T. Bwenge.
The paper first appeared in James, G. (ed.) (1989) Lexicographers and
Their Works. Pp. 5-17. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.

Chapter 44 contains The bilingual dictionary: Definition, history,
bidirectionality written by Carla Marello. It is a revised, updated and
translated version of the work published in Marello, C. (1989) Dizionari
bilingui con schede sui di: ionari italiani per francese, inglese,
spagnolo, tedesco. Pp. 5-32. Bologna: Zanichelli.

Chapter 45 contains Dictionaries of Spanish in their historical context
written by Manuel Alvar Ezquerra. It is a revised and updated of the paper
published in International Journal of Lexicography. 8(3): 173-201 (1995).

Chapter 46 contains A multifunctional software application for electronic
dictionaries written by Hiroaki Sato. It is the updated version of the
paper first included in Heid, U. et al. (Eds.) (2000) Proceedings of the
9th EURALEX Congress. Pp. 863-870. Stuttgart: Universitaet IMS.


In chapter 22 (pp. 15-28) DeWitt T Starnes and Gertrude E. Noyes deal with
the New English Dictionary developed by Thomas Dyche and William Pardon,
and first published nearly twenty years before Johnson's dictionary. The
increasingly literate public of that time repeatedly reissued this
particular work, since time was ripe for advice on linguistic usage and
encyclopedic information for them. Although there a good demand for such
works as recognized by the scholars like Nathaniel Bailey, most of the
lexicographers were amateurs who struggled for a set of principles that
world work fine for their enterprise. However, due to lack of well-defined
principles, the then lexicographers started copying from each other and/or
reinventing same set of guidelines for every new dictionary project. The
authors show how Dyches background as a schoolmaster and author of a
grammar book and a spelling dictionary had contributed towards the task of
compiling a general dictionary with special attention to stress marking,
parts-of-speech and place-names. However, the authors are skeptical about
the consistency and effectiveness of the definitions, and the value and
provenance of the encyclopedic information provided in the dictionary.

In chapter 23 (pp.29-38) Tetsuro Hayashi asks the question about the
relevance and validity of the principles that were adopted by the early
English lexicographers to frame their works. With a new approach Hayashi
skims carefully through the statements of the lexicographers provided in
the prefaces of their dictionaries that reveal many interesting things
about the spiraling process of discovering, fine-tuning and copying of the
tricks of the trade. The author summarizes five sets of 47 principles the
origin of which can be said to derive from 250-year period: (a) coverage,
(b) data-gathering and structure, (c) interpreting meaning, (d)
establishing authority and (e) representing pronunciation. It also
includes a chronologically arranged bibliography of cited dictionaries.
Although we are doubtful whether the lexicographers of present day will
agree to stick to these principles, the textbooks in lexicography
available today certainly reflect many on them as generally valid and
codified guidelines.

In chapter 24 (pp. 39-51) Frank A. Kafker sums up the salient features of
nine of the most important predecessors of the French Encyclopedie. These
features include factors such as compilation complexity, censorship and
persecution, copy-editing and plagiarism, coverage of factual knowledge
from varying range of subject and disciplines rather than pure lexical
information about linguistic usage, social engagement and relative
independence, recruitment policy and innovation. However, in his opinion,
the Encyclopedie is the best referential product of the mid-eighteenth
century France, since the leading intellectuals of that time valued
universal learning, empirical knowledge, practical skills, and the use of
reason, all at the service of innovation and reform (p. 48). However, he
is disappointed because the Encyclopedie provides no coverage of
information, vulgar, slang, or colloquial language, which Dyches
Dictionary treats so extensively. Nonetheless, Kafker concludes with an
acknowledgment: the Encyclopedie became repository of literature, original
scholarship, and advanced thought, a landmark of the Enlightenment and
also a landmark in the history of encyclopedia-making (p. 48).

In chapter 25 (pp. 52-64) Robert L. Collison evaluates the contribution of
historical and comparative linguistics to lexicography. He starts with a
reference to the Deutsche Worterbuch made by Grimm brothers as the
prototypical application of the linguistic notions of interlingual change
and interlingual relationship. From the linguistic point of view, it is
interesting to trace the stages of development of one language by means of
etymological, historical or period dictionaries. It is also interesting to
to explore how a language shares some linguistic commonalities with the
other members of the same language family (e.g. German within Germanic and
Germanic within Indo-European). However, this issue is not elaborated
here. Scholars have argued that while comparative bilingual or
multilingual dictionaries codify interlingual relationships between the
genealogically related languages, contact dictionaries aim at documenting
the borrowing and/or copying of lexical items from one language to
another. Finally, the author presents some examples to show how the
comparative-historical approach inspired the creation of etymological
studies and historical dictionaries for Germanic, Celtic, Romance, and
Slavonic languages as well as the classical European languages like Latin
and Greek and non-European languages such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Burmese
and Arabic.

In chapter 26 (pp. 65-75) Arthur J. Bronstein presents a chronological
description on the formation and use of pronunciation dictionaries in
England and America over the centuries. He starts from the early part of
the 17th century and gradually proceeds to show how pronunciation
dictionaries are developed in these countries and how these dictionaries
contributed towards representing the variation of pronunciation of words
in the standard forms over the years. Initially, in the 16th and 17th
century, dictionary makers made no effort to identify correct or other
forms of pronunciation of words (e.g. Cawdrey 1604, Kersey 1708).
Pronunciation was first included in the Supplement II of Nathan Baileys
Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1727). From that day on wards,
pronunciation is included in almost all standard and dialect dictionaries
in English although the mode of presentation of the information was
different in England and America. Finally, Bronstein makes a plea for an
entirely new pronouncing dictionary of North American English, since finer
aspects of pronunciation of sounds are identified due to the result of
acoustic-phonetic research plus research on the physiology and perception
of speech with the use of sophistical instruments.

In chapter 27 (pp. 76-84) Robert F. Ilson makes a kind of detective work
(Lexicographic Archeology) to illustrate with concrete evidence the
genetic relationship underlying several sets of dictionaries. In
principle, it involves investigation of features common to different
editions of the same dictionary, of different dictionaries based on the
common source, of different dictionaries from the same publisher.
Systematic investigation can reveal interesting aspects about the language
itself, and the ways the information is presented. Thus, it helps
lexicographers, critics and users to appreciate the intricacies involved
in dictionary making. His interesting study starts from the American
College Dictionary (which derives from earlier dictionaries based on
Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language) and explores
through the British Encyclopedic World Dictionary and the Australian
Macquarie Dictionary. Thus, the author establishes that Lexicographic
Archeology is an important field of investigation that helps to understand
past dictionaries to improve the future ones.

In Chapter 28 (pp. 85-95) Roger J. Steiner, following the line of research
on the development of bilingual dictionary in history, examines how the
bilingual dictionary between English and Spanish has contributed towards
the growth and maturity of this particular type of reference work. In
course of his investigation he demonstrates that only once in the period
of continuous recension, Thomas Connelly and Thomas Higgins made a
completely new beginning. In essence, they merged the two monolingual
dictionaries of Samuel Johnson and the Spanish Academy into the
Diccionario Nuevo (1797-98), which is considered to have three
dictionaries in one: a monolingual English dictionary, a monolingual
Spanish dictionary, and a bilingual Spanish dictionary (p. 91). This
dictionary presented valuable lexicosemantic information in various novel
manners (e.g. treatment of headwords in both source and target languages),
which were never possible to achieve before.

In chapter 29 (pp. 96-108) Herbert C. Morton deals with the biographical
history of Philip Gove, who was the editor for the Webster's Third New
International Dictionary (1961). The history of Gove's attachment with the
Webster's Third New International Dictionary ends with a discussion on the
legacy of the dictionary and its descriptive and anti-encyclopedic editor-
in-chief. After his retirement, Gove carried on as a consultant for a
while, and although the bruises from the battles of the early 1960s were
still painful, he remained proud of the achievements and loyal to the
company. However, even after his death, the issue of usage and how (not)
to mark it lived on in the press, in the linguistic literature, in the
follow-up work of Merriam-Webster's, and in its competition with other
dictionary publishers. In fact, many of the dictionary publishing houses
still practice Govian lexicography (p.107) except for minor details. They
still do single-phrase defining and reading and marking along the same
lines laid down by Gove in his instructions. Towards the end of the paper
there is a hint that non-commercial academic attention to the theory of
lexicography might benefit the future of practical dictionary making.

In chapter 30 (pp. 109-127) Noel E. Osselton clearly claims that, most
(but not all) historical dictionaries are hybrids (p. 109). In practice,
such dictionaries combine two functions: (a) they provide full description
of the vocabulary of their own day (i.e. words in use, theirs meanings,
their status, pronunciation, etc.), (and (b) at the same time, they order
and present all kinds of information about its part. To substantiate his
argument, Osselton, takes into account the scholarly historical
dictionaries of three major European languages (i.e. German, French, and
Dutch) and their makers in relation to James Murray and the Oxford English
Dictionary. In a sequential order, keeping the form, structure, and
content of the OED at background, he discusses the Deutsches Woerterbuch
(1852-1960) by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Dictionnaire de la language
française (1863-1873) by Emile Littre and the Woordenboek der
Nederlandsche Taal (1864-1998) of Matthias de Vries, in terms of
composition time, dating and historical coverage of vocabulary, linguistic
commentary, nomenclature, pronunciation, sense variation and development,
definitions and usage, readership, archaism and neologism, load of
synonyms, use of quotations, treatment of words and compounds,
consideration of spelling of words, collocational and idiomatic usage of
words, and other problems.

In chapter 31 (pp. 139-146) John A. Haywood starts his discussion with
reference to the status of Arabic lexicography within the realm of
medieval scholarship. In that era, dictionaries such as the fourteenth-
century Qamus and its translations into other languages had lasting impact
of the growth and improvement of scholarship of the mediaeval people.
Haywood also explores how the work has continued to influence the work of
dictionary making in subsequent ages, not only in the Islamic countries
from the Middle East to North West Africa, but also in other regions (from
Spain to Indonesia), which had remained in contact with the Arabic
language and culture. Thus, in Persia the local literary language took
some time to get established vis-à-vis Arabic; in Turkey dictionary making
was dominated by Arabic conventions even for longer period; for Hebrew and
Syriac languages the influence was mutual. To overcome the limitations of
traditional dictionary Haywood wants an Arabic lexicon on historical
principles that will combine Arabic literature to reflect on how words
changed or modified their meanings over a long period (p. 145).

In chapter 32 (pp. 147-157) Sumitra M. Katre traces some current trends
against the long history of non-alphabetic (e.g. metrical) dictionary
making in the Indian sub-continent. The Indian tradition in lexicography
is older than that of Arabic and many investigations are made on this
particular area over the centuries. However, due to linguistic, cultural
and ethnic diversities there has been no concerted attempt for initiating
combined studies across Indian languages. Under the influence of
nineteenth century European philology, some modern bilingual and
monolingual dictionaries as well as historical, pedagogical and technical
dictionaries are produced for some of the Indian language. Also, some
projects are running on lexicographic works of various types, but due to
budgetary and technical limitations these projects have made limited
progress. These rude facts of life are acknowledged in the proceedings of
the first national conference on dictionary making in Indian languages,
held at Mysore in 1970 (Mishra 1970) as well as in the textbook of Ram
Adhar Singh (1982).

In chapter 33 (pp. 158-173) XUE Shiqi presents an overview on the
varieties of the Chinese dictionary produced over the years. The
discussion includes almost all types staring from word dictionaries,
character dictionaries, rhyme dictionaries and dialect dictionaries and
running through several types of encyclopedic, one-volume and pocket
dictionaries. Also, the article refers to some ongoing contemporary
lexicographic projects in China. A postscript brings the paper up to date
by reporting on recent developments since 1982. From the study we get a
picture of vibrant activities in both the academic and the commercial
sectors. Chinese lexicography can easily take pride for preserving the
longest tradition of dictionary making. Also, a large amount literature
related to this empirical field of study is available. However, only a
small proportion of it is available in English and other Western
languages. In fact, the time has probably come for translating these works
in English so that they become accessible to them who do not know Chinese.

In chapter 34 (pp. 174-185) Marie-Noelle Lamy explores into the problem of
identifying monolingual learners dictionaries as a new genre. Most often
it is noted that the title of such a dictionary does not always indicate
the intended target audience in general. After this, Lamy makes a survey
on the available dictionary families and their linguistic and
presentational features. This includes non-alphabetic formats as well as
the principles that guide the choice of their word-lists and their
definition styles furnished with the entry words. The first dictionary
specifically aimed at foreign learners of English was Oxford Advanced
Learners Dictionary edited by Hornby. Originally conceived and published
in Japan, it brought many innovations and imitations for the generations
to come. However, there are several alternatives to this monolingual
learners dictionary, the most recent one is credited to Humblé (2001). The
chapter ends with a contrastive discussion on the French and English

In chapter 35 (pp. 186-194) Arthur Delbridge provides and overview of the
practice and theory of lexicography in Australia since 1788. In course of
his discussion Delbridge pays special attention to English, Aboriginal
languages and community languages used in the country. As an important
lingua franca in Australia, English has always been on edge, conscious of
its European origin and heritage. Also, it is always aware of its contacts
with the aboriginal languages and the languages of several generations of
migrants settled in the continent. The discussion has been impartial in
dealing with this linguistic scholarship with equal emphasis on all
language varieties in the continent. The paper concludes with a report on
the establishment of a regional association and research centers for
lexicographic works at two universities.

In chapter 36 (pp. 195-210) Luca Serianni starts with a reference to the
features of a historical Italian dictionary Vocabolario degli Accademici
della Crusca first published in 1612. Then she makes a detailed survey on
the work with reference to two dozens Italian dictionaries produced during
the last four decades. In course of her discussion, she pays utmost
attention to the features of innovations in content and format of the
dictionaries. Although the emphasis of the writer has been most on general-
purpose monolingual dictionaries, quite often attention is diverted
towards some historical-etymological, regional-dialectological and
encyclopedic-technical reference works. With a critical approach, the
merits and limitations of these works are addressed and described.
However, we also agree with the author, when she finally admits that the
objective criteria for evaluating and comparing dictionaries are still

In chapter 37 (pp. 211-217) Ahmad Taherian divides his paper into two
broad sections. In the first section, he concentrates on the history of
Persian dictionary making. Here he describes the three distinct periods of
dictionary making in Persia from the Sassanian Dynasty to the end of the
twentieth century. From his narration we come to know that ever since the
pre-Islamic tradition of ancient Persia, Iranian lexicographers have been
adopting and adapting various practices from their neighboring countries.
In the second part, Taherian describes recent developments of
lexicographic works in the country, particularly since the Revolution of
1979. This study refers to the progress made in the use of information
technology for preparing Farsi dictionaries, which requires the creation
and maintenance of linguistic database tools. Since use of information
technology in dictionary making requires skilled manpower well-versed in
handling both electronic language databases and computer systems, there is
no denial of the argument of the author that training of the dictionary
compliers as well as the users is a primary requisite in such works.

In chapter 38 (pp. 218-245) Rufus H. Gouws first presents brief sketches
of the linguistic and the lexicographic contexts in the Republic of South
Africa. Next, he gives an outline on the role of PANSALB (i.e. Pan South
African Language Board) in the creation of National Lexicographic Units
for each of the eleven official languages. Finally, he addresses some of
the problems of dictionary making in this multilingual and multicultural
region. The entire work of dictionary making that involves multiple
languages, requires systematic synchronization of the interests of the
target people as well as careful handling of the language data and
information, which are meant to be incorporated in the dictionary.
Obviously, such a wide futuristic project demands not only collective
wisdom but also combined efforts for success. He is probably right when he
argues for to a new generation of dictionaries compiled on sound

In chapter 39 (pp. 257-268) Henry Sweet rightly observes that there is a
certain degree of antagonism between the dictionary compilers and the
dictionary users. In fact, these two classes of people are poles apart.
While dictionary makes seldom consider the need of target users, language
users hardly get any scope to convey their needs to the dictionary makers.
Keeping this at background, Sweet explores the useful role of dictionary
in practical language learning (especially the study of vocabulary) for
the benefit of teachers and students of foreign languages. Like James
Murray, Sweet is aware of the importance of diachronic change in language
and the value of historical lexicography in language study. And, like
Saussure, Sweet appreciates the importance synchronic systematicity in
language study (in terms of phonetics, grammar, semantics, style and
dialect variation, etc.) and the value of descriptive linguistics.
Finally, Sweet refers to the coverage of information categories (e.g.
grammar, pronunciation and meaning) as well as their scope and arrangement
in the dictionary, with occasional suggestions for improving its content
and structure.

In chapter 40 (pp. 269-287) Doris A. Bartholomew and Louise C. Schoenhals
meticulously sketch an elaborate guideline on how we should codify
materials gathered from native speakers in bilingual dictionaries. To
establish their propositions, the authors describe here the sounds,
structures and vocabulary items obtained from relatively unrecorded
languages in relatively inaccessible regions of the world. They also
provide good examples to deal with the problems of grammatical
classification of words to be included as entry words in bilingual
dictionaries (e.g. verb sub-categories, affixes and irregular forms and
the like). Finally, they show how these classification schemes should be
treated as part of a consistent overall labeling policy employed for
making a bilingual dictionary maximally accessible to the target users.

In chapter 41 (pp. 288-294) Peter K. Austin gives an introduction on the
lexicographic treatment of Aboriginal languages in Australia. He reports
how ethnographic fieldwork methods are used in the lexicographic
codification of minority languages in different parts of the world.
Aboriginal languages in Australia are increasingly attesting focus of the
experts, although due to imperialistic aggression of other languages,
these are regrettably becoming endangered, if not altogether extinct. The
situation is further aggravated due to the decline in the numbers of
speakers of these languages, the lack of relevant skills and resources,
and the unsettle state of bilingual dictionary making practices. However,
the author is highly optimistic about the survival of these endangered
languages, since sincere attempts are being made for the progress of many
of the languages. The author himself is involved in one of the projects
(i.e. Gamilaraay) dealing with bilingual dictionary, which aim at
accelerating and improving the status of the languages by the use of
innovative computer technology.

In chapter 42 (pp. 295-312) HENG Xiao-jun presents and interesting
estimation on the compilation of a bilingual dictionary of idiomatic and
proverbial expressions. He first situates and defines the notions of idiom
and proverb to summarize the characteristic features of these units. In
general, idioms and proverbs are information categories that sit awkwardly
between grammar, lexis and verbal examples. Their treatment in bilingual
dictionaries will therefore often vary and sometimes it would the case of
simple hit-and-miss between the languages considered for the dictionary.
Then, he considers some of the difficulties involved in their
lexicographic codification, with special reference to English and Chinese.
Finally, he presents a justification for the selection of the word-list
and the rather original five-step method (i.e. Chinese phonetic
transcription, literal translation, free translation, English equivalent,
and register label) of arranging translation equivalents in this bilingual

In chapter 43 (313-324) Charles M. T. Bwenge deals with the complex
morphology of Bantu languages and its treatment in dictionaries. While we
consider the problem of linguistic description and lexicographical
codification, we find a complex relationship between the structure of a
language and the arrangement of the information on it provided in the
dictionary. Thus, if grammatical form of words (i.e. morphology) is
complicated by way of inflectional and derivational affixes, the shapes of
the headwords listed in the dictionary (i.e. their canonical forms) may
not be easy to determine by the users. To illustrate his arguments, the
author gives examples of both nominal and verbal affixation patterns and
the way they are handled in three bilingual and one monolingual
dictionary. He ends with a recommendation for the lemmatized part of an
entry on the derived noun (e.g. m-cheza-ji 'player'). He argues that such
mixed word-stem-affix entry systems would make things easier both for the
dictionary makers and the dictionary users. However, we believe that such
recommendation needs to be implemented and examined with the users first
on an experimental basis before it is adopted in regular practice.

In chapter 44 (pp. 325-342) Carla Marello makes a long survey to deal with
the nature and origins of bilingual lexicography. She starts from the
early Latin-based glossaries, refers to various bilingual and polyglot
works, addresses various modern print dictionaries, and finally points
towards the electronic reference works. According to her observation,
interlingual dictionaries in contrast to the monolingual dictionaries are
far more useful since these are intended to help mediation between the
languages. For instance, bilingual dictionaries for language pairs and the
polyglot dictionaries for multiple languages are better resources for the
purpose of interlingual information exchange and foreign language
education and interlingual translation. Finally, the author presents a
rather original typological section where she argues the case for the
quality of bidirectionality in dictionary, that is, the need to serve
users from belonging to both speech communities.

In chapter 45 (pp. 343-374) Manuel Alvar Ezquerra traces the historical
development of bilingual dictionaries starting from the early Latin-
vernacular glossaries and the bilingual dictionaries with Spanish and six
other European languages. The author also surges through the Spanish
Academy dictionary and technical and encyclopedic works to the
dictionaries of our own era. There is a strong debate regarding the
position of linguistics with respect to lexicography. Since monolingual
and interlingual dictionaries contain information on languages, we are
persuaded to believe that linguistics must be logically and
chronologically prior to lexicography. The author, however, stresses on
the strong mutual link between the two domains, since she inclines towards
the proposition that argues that lexicographic codification is incomplete
without a full knowledge of the facts on linguistic usage. This is
probably true, since a dictionary without adequate information of a
language is nothing more than a list of words. Here the principles of
precision obviously demands for the development and utilization of
comprehensive language corpora for enhancing acceptability of a dictionary.

In chapter 46 (pp. 375-383) Hiroaki Sato, for the first time in the
volume, introduces a database of six electronic dictionaries for direct on-
screen access (e.g. for inflected and derived forms). He also refers to
Internet for web searches, and a corpus of 500 American films to provide
linguistic database for both dictionary compilers and users. This is
followed by a reference to the Berkeley-based FrameNet resource that helps
users to check complementation patterns of dictionaries. Such electronic
databases provide essential evidences on the facts of usage in spoken and
written language for precision and quality in dictionary compilation. In
fact, exciting innovations in information technology have been one of the
strong incentives for the dictionary developers in various ways for a
number of years now. However, the author argues whether corpus linguistics
is a misnomer for this kind development, since the technology comes from
computer experts rather than the linguists. His argument also finds ground
if we take into account that the output of is actually exploited by
lexicographers rather than linguists. However, in our opinion, it is
better to call lexicomputing, since the method of electronic dictionary
making is primarily based on the language databases available in
electronic form.


Part 4 (chapter 22 to chapter 30) makes a contribution to our knowledge of
how lexicographic traditions have developed. The history of dictionary
making can be traced back to early Greek glossaries in the 5th Pre-
Christian century, and in Mesopotamia, Southern India and China for
probably more than two millennia, in some cases possibly even before the
invention of writing. It is worth pursuing the question whether what has
been written on dictionary history can be classified into different genres
according to what kinds of topics have been investigated. The papers
included in this part exemplify these issues, link lexicography to
cultural history, and ravel through the description of particular national
or intellectual traditions.

Part 5 (from chapter 31 to chapter 38) gives an impression of global
diversity, between Europe and Asia and other countries (and even within
Europe). It must be admitted that regional perspectives tend to overlap
with linguistic perspectives in the sense that authors who write about
particular traditions may focus either on the territory or the language in
question. It is impossible to provide a conspectus here of the status of
lexicography in all regions and countries of the world. More information
on Europe can be found in Hartmann (1999, 2000), on Africa in Hartmann
(1990); on Asia in (McArthur and Kernerman (1998); all this with the
double provision that some regions are better covered than others, and
where there is literature, it tends to run rapidly out of date. Today it
is increasingly possible to consult the websites of continental
associations of lexicography as well as the proceedings of their
conferences (p. 135).

Part 6 (chapter 39 to chapter 46) focuses on the fact that dictionary work
often goes hand in hand with other forms of linguistic codification and
can thus be older than the linguistic sciences. Moreover, dictionary
making is such a complicated task, which needs a close interface between
the linguists and the non-linguists. In any case, what is important here
is the issue of linguistic accuracy in dictionary making, which is meant
to provide reliable information (i.e. reference) to users who have needs
for it.


Hartmann, R. R. K. (ed.) (1990) Lexicography in Africa. Progress Reports
from the D.R.C. workshop at Exeter 1989. (Exeter Linguistic Studies Series
15). Exeter: University of Exeter.

Hartmann, R. R. K. (ed.) (1999) Dictionaries in Language Learning.
Recommendations, National Reports and Thematic Reports from the TNP Sub-
Project 9: Dictionaries. Website www.fu-

Hartmann, R. R. K. (ed.) (2000) European lexicography: Perspectives on
dictionary research, with special reference to the countries of the
European Union. Dictionaries. 21: 1-21.

Humblé, P. (2001) Dictionaries and Language Learners. Haag und Herchen.

McArthur, Tom and Ilan Kernerman (Eds.) (1998) Lexicography in Asia.
Selected Papers from the Dictionaries in Asia Conference, Hong Kong 1997,
and other papers. Tel Aviv: Password Publishers.

Mishra, B.G. (ed.) (1970) Lexicography in India. Mysore: Central Institute
of Indian Languages.

Singh, Ram Adhar (1982) An Introduction to Lexicography. Mysore: Central
Institute of Indian Languages.


Dr. Niladri Sekhar Dash works in the area of corpus linguistics and corpus-
based language research and application at Indian Statistical Institute,
Kolkata, India. His research interest includes corpus linguistics,
lexicography, lexicology, and lexical semantics. His recent book (Corpus
Linguistics and Language Technology, New Delhi, Mittal Publications, 2005)
has addressed, besides other things of corpus linguistics, the issue of
corpus use in lexicographic works in Indian languages. Presently he is
working on corpus-based dictionary making, lexical polysemy, and corpus-
based machine translation in Indian languages.

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