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Lexicography versus Terminography

M Alberts


Lexicography and terminography are specialised professions concerned with the compilation and editing of dictionaries. The lexicographer documents the words in the vocabulary of the general language whereas the terminographer documents the terminology of specific subject fields and domains. The terminographer works with a more restricted register than the general lexicographer, but from a holistic point of view, general lexicography and terminography are on a continuum where only the nature of the defined words or terms differs. The conceptual system of the sciences is more systematic and exact than that of the general environment. It is for this reason that nowadays the target group of a particular dictionary determines its format and content. A definition remains extremely important, since it describes the meaning of words and terms and serves to standardise the terms, especially in scientific and technical language. This article concerns itself with the similarities between lexicography and terminography, aspects regarding lexicography as a profession are outlined, followed by a discussion of terminography, and in conclusion attention is drawn to the differences between the two professions.

Keywords: compile, conceptual system, descriptive approach, dictionary, domain, excerption, general lexicographer, lexicographer, lexicography, linguist, prescriptive approach, subject specialist, subject field, target group, term, terminographer, terminography, terminology, vocabulary, word