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Why relevance theory is relevant for lexicography

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This article starts by providing a brief summary of relevance theory in information science in relation to the function theory of lexicography, explaining the different types of relevance, viz. objective system relevance and the subjective types of relevance, i.e. topical, cognitive, situational, socio-cognitive and affective relevance. It then shows, at the hand of examples, why relevance is important from a user perspective in the extra-lexicographical pre- and post-consultation phases and in the intra-lexicographical consultation phase. It defines an additional type of subjective relevance that is very important for lexicography as well as for information science, viz. functional relevance. Since all lexicographic work is ultimately aimed at satisfying users’ information needs, the article then discusses why the lexicographer should take note of all these types of relevance when planning a new dictionary project, identifying new tasks and responsibilities of the modern lexicographer. The article furthermore discusses how relevance theory impacts on teaching dictionary culture and reference skills. By integrating insights from lexicography and information science, the article contributes to new ideas for both disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLexicographica: International Annual for Lexicography / Revue Internationale de Lexicographie / Internationales Jahrbuch für Lexikographie
Volume30
Issue1
Pages (from-to)350-378
Number of pages29
ISSN0175-6206
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Lexicography, Function theory, Relevance theory, Information science

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