Explaining Dysfunctional Effects of Lexicographical Communication

Herman L. Beyer

Abstract


During a keynote address at an international conference of AFRILEX articles from a bilingual dictionary with Afrikaans as one of the treated languages was presented. One of the articles was that of the lemma vuvuzela, which contained the example sentence Vuvuzelas maak 'n groot lawaai by sokkerwedstryde [± Vuvuzelas make a lot of noise at soccer matches]. A member of the audience criticised this example for apparently not reflecting the notion of festivity and celebration, with which the vuvuzela is also associated; instead, it seemed that the example focused only on a negative feature of the vuvuzela. From the ensuing discussion it became clear that there seemed to be no theoretical framework against which the criticism could be validated and productively dealt with, even though the lexicographer ultimately offered to review the example.

This article introduces elements of the theory of lexicographical communication and applies them to scaffold such a framework. It is argued that indicators in dictionary articles can be regarded as lexicographic utterances that carry various types of lexicographic messages. These can be systematically and formally analysed to identify functional, non-functional and dysfunctional effects of lexicographical communication. Problems with lexicographical communication can then be diagnosed and addressed. This potential is illustrated by treating the above-mentioned occurrence as a case study. In conclusion, the value of the relevant elements of the theory for the evaluation of dictionaries is briefly outlined.

Keywords: appeal, dictionary, dysfunctional effect, expressive, function, functional effect, information, lexicographer, lexicographic message, lexicographic utterance, lexicographical communication, lexicography, non-functional effect, referential, relational, target user


Keywords


APPEAL, DICTIONARY, DYSFUNCTIONAL EFFECT, EXPRESSIVE, FUNCTION, FUNCTIONAL EFFECT, INFORMATION, LEXICOGRAPHER, LEXICOGRAPHIC MESSAGE, LEXICOGRAPHIC UTTERANCE, LEXICOGRAPHICAL COMMUNICATION, LEXICOGRAPHY, NON-FUNCTIONAL EFFECT, REFERENTIAL, RELATIONAL, TAR

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/24-1-1252

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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