Theoretical challenges to practical specialised lexicography

  • S Tarp


During the last decades, part of lexicography has developed into an independent science with an elaborated system of theories based on the users' needs and corresponding dictionary functions. This also applies to specialised lexicography. Many lexicographers, however, still refuse to view their discipline as an independent science and treat it as a subdiscipline, i.e. of linguistics, or they consider specialised lexicography as something different from lexicography in general (which is the case with part of the so-called terminographers). Both interpretations have unfortunate consequences for lexicographic theory and practice. The great challenge now is to strengthen lexicography as a science, and to apply its system of scientific theories to the practical planning and compilation of specialised dictionaries. A look at existing dictionaries shows that there is still a lot of work to be done. Due to economic, editorial and other limitations, a great deal of pragmatism is often practised when compiling a concrete specialised dictionary. Lexicographic pragmatism might be necessary, but in order to be successful it must be guided by theory. Keywords: communication-orientated function, cultural information, dictionary, encyclopaedia, encyclopaedic information, genuine purpose of a dictionary, grammatical information, knowledge-orientated function, lexicographic function, lexicographic pragmatism, lexicographic skills, lexicography, linguistic skills, LSP dictionary, LSP lexicography, practical lexicography, semantic information, specialised dictionary, specialised lexicography, subject-field skills, terminography, terminology, theoretical lexicography, user characteristics, user needs, user situations, user-orientated lexicography

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904