Multimodal lexicography: The representation of meaning in electronic dictionaries

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Date

2010

Authors

Lew, Robert

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Lexikos

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Abstract

One finding of user studies is that information on meaning tends to be what diction¬ary users want most from their dictionaries. This is consistent with the traditional image of the dictionary as a repository of meanings of words, and this is also borne out in definitions of the item DICTIONARY itself as given in dictionaries. While this popular view has not changed much, the growing role of electronic dictionaries can change the lexicographers' approach to meaning repre¬sentation. Traditionally, paper dictionaries have explained words with words, using either a defi¬nition or an equivalent, and occasionally a line-drawn picture. However, a prominent feature of the electronic medium is its multimodality, and this offers potential for the description of meaning. While it is much easier to include pictorial content, electronic dictionaries can also hold media objects which paper cannot carry, such as audio, animation or video. Publishers are drawn by the attraction of these new options, but are they always functionally useful for the dictionary users? In this article, the existing evidence is examined, and informed guesses are offered where evidence is not yet available.

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Keywords

electronic dictionary, meaning, illustration, animation, audio, sound effects, video, multimodality, specialized lexicography, learner's dictionary

Citation

Lew, Robert. 2010. ‘Multimodal Lexicography: The Representation of Meaning in Electronic Dictionaries.’ Lexikos 20: 290-306.

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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego