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Basic problems of learner's lexicography

S Tarp


In general, learner's dictionaries suffer from the fact that lexicography has been treated as a subdiscipline of linguistics and not as an independent discipline and that, correspondingly, no serious efforts have been made to develop a general theory of learner's dictionaries within the general theory of lexicography. Such a theory must undoubtedly be developed on the basis of the theory of lexicographic functions. Foreign language learning is a complex process and the very concept of a learner is in no way unambiguous. Dictionaries can be conceived to assist the learner in different aspects of the language-learning process. Accordingly, at least four main functions of a learner's dictionary can be distinguished corresponding to the following user situations: text reception in the foreign language, text production in the foreign language, conscious study of the foreign- language lexis and conscious study of the foreign-language grammar. Learner's dictionaries are, thus, not to be considered a special type of dictionaries, but constitute a more general category including various types of learner's dictionaries according to their functions or combination of functions. The great challenge to learner's lexicography is to conceive and compile dictionaries that assist the learner in as many aspects of the language-learning process as possible.

Keywords: lexicography, learner's lexicography, learner's dictionaries, general theory of learner's lexicography, lexicographic functions, communication-orientated functions, knowledge-orientated functions, foreign-language text reception, foreign-language text production, assimilations of the foreign-language system, learners' characteristics, user needs, user situations, lexicographic data, lexicographic structures

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eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904