Should LSP Dictionaries also Include Professional Jargon and Slang?*

  • R Gläser


The paper discusses the question whether an LSP dictionary should take the sociolinguistic stratification of the entire speech community in a particular domain of activity into consideration, and as a consequence, also encompass vocabulary on the lower stylistic levels, such as professional jargon and occupational slang in addition to technical terminology and nomenclature. The author's contention is that by including such vocabulary, an LSP dictionary will be more comprehensive and closer to the communicative reality. Moreover, it will meet the more specific requirements of translators and interpreters. To substantiate this claim, the author examined two monolingual English dictionaries and five bilingual English-German (German-English) dictionaries published between 1973 and 2000, which have successfully incorporated professional jargon and slang. The subject areas covered range from law, economics, accountancy and business administration to geology, geophysics, geotectonics, and to automotive engineering. Some lexicographers have used style markers or usage labels (such as informal, colloquial, slang, vulgar, umgangssprachlich, förmlich, gehoben, finance, motoring, press) for vocabulary bearing stylistic or expressive connotations. As a rule, these style markers have only been given to key words of the source language so that they may be inferred for the target language equivalent. Ideally, as one dictionary author has proved, style markers should also be attached to target language equivalents. However, an LSP lexicographer must be aware of the fact that informal and slang words may be short-lived and be substituted by other colloquial and colourful words from oral communication — and that slang words may gradually lose their connotations and become stylistically neutral words and even terms. Keywords: LSP dictionary, technical term, item of nomenclature, trivial (popular) name, professional jargon, occupational slang, trade name, connotation, stylistic level/level of style, style marker, usage label, monolingual/bilingual dictionary, sociolinguistic stratification of the speech community.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904