Lexicography: An Introduction

By Howard Jackson | Go to book overview

14

Criticising dictionaries

Academic lexicography, or ‘metalexicography’, as pursued in university departments of English or Linguistics, is concerned not primarily with the compiling of dictionaries - though academics may be involved in this, as consultants, for example - but with researching and teaching about the whole business of making dictionaries: their history, their typology, their structures, their users, and so on (Hartmann 2001). One aspect of academic lexicography looks at the products of commercial lexicography and subjects them to a rigorous critique, usually resulting in a review; though academics are not the only ones who review dictionaries. The process of critiquing and reviewing dictionaries is termed ‘dictionary criticism’.

One of the crucial issues for dictionary criticism is to establish a sound and rigorous basis on which to conduct the criticism, together with a set of applicable criteria. Hartmann (2001:49) comments:

Anyone who has ever read (or written) a review of a particular dictionary will know that generally agreed criteria and standards for the assessment of quality and performance are still rare, if they can be said to exist at all.

This chapter discusses the business of dictionary criticism and proposes some ways in which it may be undertaken and some guidelines for assessing dictionaries.


14.1The business of criticism

In the brief section on dictionary criticism in his chapter on lexicography in Solving Language Problems, Reinhard Hartmann (1996:241) defines it as the ‘time-honoured’ activity of ‘evaluating and assessing lexicographic products’. It is an activity that has a long history. Every new edition of a major dictionary spawns reviews in all kinds of publication, from daily and weekly newspapers to academic journals. But dictionary criticism is an activity, as Hartmann notes, ‘which has been beset by personal prejudice rather than noted for the application of objective criteria’ (1996:241). This concern is echoed in Noel Osselton’s article - the only one with ‘Dictionary Criticism’ in its title - in the International Encyclopedia of Lexicography (Hausmann et al. 1989). He notes ‘a surprising lack

-173-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lexicography: An Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Dictionaries Cited ix
  • 1 - Words 1
  • 2 - Facts about Words 10
  • 3 - The Dictionary 21
  • 4 - The Beginnings 31
  • 5 - The New English Dictionary 47
  • 6 - Up to the Present 61
  • 7 - Users and Uses 74
  • 8 - Meaning in Dictionaries 86
  • 9 - Beyond Definition 101
  • 10 - Etymology 117
  • 11 - Dictionaries for Learners 129
  • 12 - Abandoning the Alphabet 145
  • 13 - Compiling Dictionaries 161
  • 14 - Criticising Dictionaries 173
  • References 184
  • Index 189
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 198

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.