Types of dictionaries


Lexicography is the theory and practice of compiling dictionaries. A dictionary is a systematically arranged list of socialized linguistic forms, compiled from the speech habits of a given speech community and commented on by the author in such a way that reader understands the meaning of each separate form and is informed of the relevant facts, concerning the function of that form in the community. The functions of linguistic forms and their meanings are so diverse, that it is normal that there are various type of dictionaries. One of the most important principles of division among dictionaries is diachronic and synchronic.

Diachronic dictionaries are primarily concerned with the history and development of words in respect of their forms and meanings. Among them we can find etymological and historical dictionaries. Historical dictionaries focus their attention on the changes in the form and meaning of words within a period of time, for which there is historical evidence at hand. Etymological dictionaries focus their attention on the origin of words. They deal with prehistory of words. The prehistory often requires the origin of the word in other languages. 'Clinic' - [comes from Greek <'a bed'], 'Scene' - [comes from Greek < 'a tent']. In a historical dictionary the semantic developments are extremely important.

The purpose of synchronic dictionaries is to deal with the lexical stock of language oh a certain stage of historical development. The terms 'synchronic' and 'contemporary' are not equal, as 'contemporary' relates to the present day and 'synchronic' - to the present century.

The second division of dictionaries is into general and restricted. General dictionaries are based on the principle which is concerned with the national standard language. There are two types of general dictionaries: standard-descriptive and overall-descriptive.

Standard-descriptive dictionaries can be characterized as describing the standard national language used at the point of time, when the dictionary is being compiled, and it is expected to be used some time after its publication. This dictionary points to the norms of using words. It describes what is generally regular, normal and exercises on using the words. It does not describe dialectal forms, archaisms, origin of words. Overall-descriptive dictionaries include all the information about words. Such a dictionary will tend to register occasional applications (), author's words, technical words. It may be used while reading books of two or three centuries. Most frequently standard-descriptive and overall-descriptive dictionaries are combined in one publication.

Restricted .dictionaries are based on a variation of language: a Dictionary of Dialects,. a Dictionary of Slang, a Dictionary of Synonyms, a Dictionary of Phraseological Units, a Dictionary of Abbreviations, a Dictionary on Science, some author's dictionaries, a Dictionary of Foreign Words, etc.

Another principle on which dictionaries can be based is the number of languages represented in it: bi-lingual dictionary (- ). The main difficulty then is to coordinate the lexical units of one language to that of another.



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  10. Types of meaning.
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