The Concept of "Simultaneous Feedback": Towards a New Methodology for Compiling Dictionaries

  • G-M de Schryver
  • DJ Prinsloo


Abstract: Good lexicographers are constantly striving to enhance the quality of their dictionaries. Since dictionaries are ultimately judged by their target users, there is an urgency to provide for the target users' needs. In order to determine such needs more accurately, it has become common practice to submit users of a dictionary to a series of tests to monitor their success in information retrieval. In most cases such feedback unfortunately comes too late so that it can at best be considered for implementation in the next or revised edition of the dictionary. In this article it is argued that feedback from the target users should be obtained while the compilation of the dictionary is still in progress, a process referred to as "simultaneous feedback". This concept, which offers a new methodology for compiling dictionaries, overcomes the major problem of creating and publishing entire dictionaries before feedback from target users can be obtained. By this new methodology, the release of several small-scale parallel dictionaries triggers feedback that is immediately channelled to the compilation process of a main dictionary. As such, the target users constantly guide the compilers during the entire compilation process. After a theoretical presentation of the new concept, the feasibility of simultaneous feedback is illustrated with reference to the creation of a bilingual Cilubà-Dutch learner's dictionary. It is shown how this main project has been successfully complemented by three parallel projects. Keywords: simultaneous feedback, new methodology, main dictionary, parallel dictionaries, target users' desires, questionnaires, electronic corpora, word-frequency studies, concordances, african languages, cilubà

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904