The Ideology of the Perfect Dictionary: How Efficient Can a Dictionary Be?

  • M Abecassis


Abstract: Dictionaries have become essential tools of the modern world. Not only have dictionary sales dramatically increased, but the variety of dictionaries and the competition between editors are also very much on the rise. Monolingual dictionaries attract native speakers for several reasons. Some wish to capture the subtleties of their own language, others to speak the 'standard' language, and an 'ideologically' politically correct variety devoid of colloquialisms, hence the crucial role played by style labels. Furthermore, a large number of word enthusiasts enjoy linguistic curiosities, archaisms and other vestiges from the past conserved in dictionaries. Is the concept of a perfect dictionary a reality or an ideal? There is no perfect student. Language learners, for whom dictionaries are of great importance, seek user-friendly material which will improve both their fluency in and understanding of the target language, and embed acquired lexis in their long-term memory. Lexicographers, in their search for perfection and in compliance with users' wishes, are constantly innovating, and every dictionary hopes to become a landmark in lexicography and in second language acquisition. This article aims to look at the way dictionaries have evolved and assess the latest generation of computer-based dictionaries, as well as consider possible developments which will contribute to the compilation of future dictionaries. Keywords: LEXICOGRAPHY, LEXICAL ACQUISITION, VOCABULARY, STYLE LABELS, CORPUS/CORPORA, DICTIONARIES, IDEOLOGY, STANDARD, LANGUAGE LEARNING, FRENCH MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARIES, ELECTRONIC DICTIONARIES, CD-ROMS

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904