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Henning Bergenholtz

A dictionary is a tool, a good dictionary is a monofunctional tool

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/proceedingBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review

A dictionary is a tool. Most dictionaries are constructed as polyfunctional tools: they are expected to be used by everyone in any kind of user situation with communicative and cognitive problems. Good tools are not polyfunctional. If you go to a shop and ask for a saw, you have to specify first what you are intend to saw: a big tree or a small piece of plywood. You will be offered a monofunctional saw. It should be the same for information tools. A good tool is a tool conceived for a certain function and for a certain user group for certain needs. This paper will argue for the need of dictionary conceptions for monofunctional dictionaries. We will do this with examples from a lexicographical music data base which gives rise to two monofunctional dictionaries and a third polyfunctional dictionary of a special kind.

The lexicographical music data base gives rise to a collection of music dictionaries on expressions from the world of classical music whereas it contains only little information on pop, rock or jazz terms. The first monofunctional dictionary is conceived for reception, e.g. reading a text on a musical topic or reading a music score. Not many people know what a mbira is or what allegro really means. Or they would like to know what a sinfonia concertante is or what indeterminacy stands for. Many musical expressions are Italian or at least written in a foreign language so this dictionary offers translations and short explanations. The second monofunctional dictionary gives more background on musical expressions, instruments, genres, periods etc. It presents knowledge on and history of specific musical terms. The last dictionary is different, as it gives the possibility of searching on the basis of terms which are not necessarily taken from the world of music. You can look up not only musical terms but also general expressions like Spanish to see in which articles this word comes up. This dictionary will normally give many hits including some surprising ones. And some of the hits might belong into the realm of lexicotainment. Furthermore, you can use this part of the dictionary if you are not sure of the spelling of a certain term. None of the dictionaries lemmatize names of musical works, artists, or composers, but these figures may appear as examples in the text and can therefore be found in this third dictionary.
Titele-Lexicography : The Internet, Digital Initiatives and Lexicography
RedaktørerPedro Fuertes-Olivera, Henning Bergenholtz
Antal sider21
ForlagBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (trykt)978-1-4411-2806-5
StatusUdgivet - 2011


  • leksikografi, videnskabsterori, musikordbog, ordbogsbrug, database, funktion

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