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Dictionary criticism

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Dictionary criticism is part of the lexicographical universe and reviewing of electronic and printed dictionaries is not an exercise in linguistics or in subject fields but an exercise in lexicography. It does not follow from this that dictionary reviews should not be based on a linguistic approach, but that the linguistic approach is only one of several approaches to dictionary reviewing. Similarly, the linguistic and factual competences of reviewers should not be relegated to an insignificant position in the review process. Moreover, reviewers should define the object of their reviews, the dictionary, as a complex information tool with several components and in terms of significant lexicographical features: lexicographical functions, data and structures. This emphasises the fact that dictionaries are much more than mere vessels of linguistic categories, namely lexicographical tools that have been developed to fulfil specific types of needs of specific types of users in specific types of situations in the real (extra-lexicographic) world. This basis for a framework contains an outline of general theoretical and practical principles that underlie the true nature of dictionary reviews, and places the reviews in a lexicographical universe with the dictionary and lexicography at its centre. This seems to be in line with the modern understanding of lexicography as a separate academic discipline concerned with the compilation, design, evaluation and use of dictionaries. Moreover, a set of generally applicable principles may lead the discourse community to accept dictionary reviews as an important part of the scholarly discourse. Finally, a review should give a fair presentation of the dictionary and this aim may be achieved if the issues addressed are relevant and material, if the criticism is reliable, and if the reviewer treats the dictionary and authors in an unbiased way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Lexicography
EditorsPedro A. Fuertes-Olivera
Number of pages12
PublisherRoutledge
Publication year2018
Pages78-90
Chapter5
ISBN (print)9781138941601
ISBN (Electronic)9781315104942
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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