Successful communication is dependent upon an adequate level of cultural as well as linguistic understanding. Language is itself part of culture and reflects social structures and attitudes. This paper examines the case for dictionaries to carry cultural as well as lexical information. It reviews the American tradition and purpose of including cultural material in dictionaries, and considers the nature and scope of cultural information contained in a number of modern American and European dictionaries. Various means of presenting cultural information are also examined. The paper concludes by considering the implications for lexicographers developing dictionaries in multicultural South Africa.
Keywords: communication, cross-cultural communication, cultural information, culture, curriculum, dictionaries for special purposes, dictionary, dictionary design, encyclopedia, encyclopedic dictionaries, language, lexicography, multicultural society, south africa