The Window to the Future: Turning Lexicography Upside Down

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentation - typerForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


The paper will initially botanize in the history of lexicography trying to get a deeper understanding of what is happening to the discipline in the framework of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The objective is to grasp the big picture and suggest possible ways out of the present deadlock which is described as a crisis of existence for the millennial discipline. The point of departure is the still more evident fact that the business model used so far to sustain the compilation of dictionaries has increasingly become obsolete with the current migration to the Internet. A short excursion into the history of lexicography will show that a sudden change of the technological base, as the one we are now experiencing, suggests a total revolution of the discipline in all its major dimensions. In order to be successful, such a revolution requires a mental break with past traditions and habits. The paper will therefore outline a new business model that corresponds to the current introduction of disruptive technologies. In this perspective, it will argue that recent technological breakthroughs make it both possible and necessary to recover proto-lexicographical traditions largely forgotten.
As a matter of example, the paper will focus on a series of bilingual writing assistants published in 2019 by the Danish company Ordbogen A/S. These tools connect their users to big data (in the form of corpora and lexicographical databases) by means of a language model that has been trained on a L2-corpus, partially with the assistance of artificial intelligence. As such, they make extensive use of lexicographical data that are taken in from different sources and even generated in different ways. These data are currently presented to the users in two different windows popping up in the document on which they are working, but a third one is also envisaged in the future. The three windows are called suggestion, consultation and alert windows, respectively.
It will discuss the new challenges posed to lexicography by these and similar tools that are increasingly based on artificial intelligence. It will argue that these challenges cannot be solved by means of traditional user research which is basically retrospective as it unfolds in the framework of an old paradigm. As an alternative, the paper will recommend disruptive thinking by means of brainstorm and contemplation combined with the use of iterative processes with test-driven development (TDD). In this respect, it will provide some examples on how to proceed in order to elegantly fill relatively small pop-up windows with relatively big amounts of lexicographical data without incurring in information overload.
Finally, the paper will make an issue of the incipient competition between the human lexicographer and the new artificial lexicographer and give a brief account of a possible future redistribution of tasks.
Periode26 okt. 2019
Begivenhedstitel6th International Conference on Lexicography and L2 Teaching: 13th National Conference on Bilingual Lexicography
PlaceringChongqing, KinaVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational