Different Types of Dictionaries

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GRIN Verlag, Jun 30, 2003 - Literary Collections - 24 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 2 (B), Bielefeld University (FB Anglistics), course: GK Linguistik 1b How to Make a Dictionary, 15 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: There is a vast amount of different dictionaries available for users of the English language. All these dictionaries share the aspect that they provide information about English words and items, but they are also very different and need to be distinguished from each other. One may need a dictionary in one case and the same dictionary may be absolutely useless when one tries to solve another problem. “Monolingual learners’, general monolingual, and bilingual dictionaries present a problem: in spite of what may be advertised on the outside cover of these texts, no single dictionary can adequately serve all users. A variety of dictionaries is required to suit the backgrounds, needs, and expectations of individual language learners” (BATTENBURG 24). So different users and different questions require different dictionaries. One needs to know where to find the information asked for in a particular case, and one certainly needs more than one dictionary for different aspects of the English language. To avoid getting lost here, it is necessary to distinguish between the different types of dictionaries that exist. This report provides some suggestions for distinction, amongst other things established through empiric research. First, an outline of the different types of dictionaries is given, including general dictionaries (monolingual, bilingual), learner’s dictionaries, historical dictionaries and encyclopedias. Moreover, the typical structure of an entry in a dictionary is explained, because the dictionary entries examined later are mainly checked according to these parts of an entry; it is looked what parts they in- or exclude and how the parts are realized. After the theoretical part, the empiric research is documented. Five dictionaries (monolingual American and British, bilingual English-German, learner’s dictionary, historical dictionary) and one encyclopedia are compared in the way that three different items (general, encyclopedic, and regional) are looked up and the entries are compared in order to find differences and in this way get a guideline how and when to consult what dictionary.
 

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