Does Johnson's Prescriptive Approach Still Have a Role to Play in Modern-Day Dictionaries?

Rufus H. Gouws, Liezl Potgieter

Abstract


ABSTRACT: Samuel Johnson's dictionary (1755) confirmed both the status of dictionaries as authoritative sources of (linguistic) knowledge and the prescriptive approach in lexicography. This approach prevailed for a long time. During the last decades the descriptive approach came to the fore, aptly supported by the increased reliance on lexicographic corpora. Modern-day lexicography has also witnessed the introduction of a third approach, i.e. the proscriptive approach, which includes features of both the prescriptive and the descriptive approach. This article investigates the occurrence of the prescriptive, descriptive and proscriptive approaches in modern-day dictionaries. A distinction is made between dictionaries focusing on language for general purposes and dictionaries focusing on languages for special purposes. It is shown that users rely on dictionaries as prescriptive reference sources and expect lexicographers to provide them with an answer to the specific question that prompted the dictionary consultation process. It is argued that knowledgeable dictionary users must be able to achieve an unambiguous retrieval of information and must be able to rely on the dictionary to satisfy their specific cognitive or communicative needs. Here the proscriptive approach plays an important role.

OPSOMMING: Het Johnson se preskriptiewe benadering nog 'n rol te speel in moderne woordeboeke? Samuel Johnson se woordeboek (1755) het die status van woordeboeke as gesaghebbende houers van (taalkundige) kennis, maar eweneens die preskriptiewe benadering in leksikografie gevestig. Hierdie benadering het lank gegeld. Gedurende die onlangse dekades het die deskriptiewe benadering op die voorgrond getree, sterk ondersteun deur toenemende benutting van korpora. Moderne leksikografie het 'n derde benadering beleef, te wete die proskriptiewe benadering wat kenmerke van sowel die preskriptiewe as die deskriptiewe benadering bevat. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die voorkoms van die preskriptiewe, deskriptiewe en proskriptiewe benadering in moderne woordeboeke. 'n Onderskeid word gemaak tussen algemene en vakwoordeboeke. Daar word aangetoon dat gebruikers op woordeboeke staatmaak as preskriptiewe naslaanbronne en dit van leksikograwe verwag om aan hulle antwoorde te verskaf op die spesifieke vrae wat tot die woordeboekraadpleging aanleiding gegee het. Kundige woordeboekgebruikers moet daartoe in staat wees om 'n ondubbelsinnige ontsluiting van inligting te bereik en hulle woordeboek te kan vertrou vir die bevrediging van spesifieke kognitiewe en kommunikatiewe behoeftes. Hier speel die proskriptiewe benadering 'n wesenlike rol.

Sleutelwoorde: AANBEVELING, ALGEMENE WOORDEBOEKE, DESKRIPTIEF, EKSKLUSIEWE PROSKRIPSIE, GEBRUIKERSPERSPEKTIEF, GEBRUIKERSTIPES, KOGNITIEWE FUNKSIE, KOMMUNIKATIEWE FUNKSIE, KULTUURGEBONDE, NIE-AANBEVOLE VORM, PRESIESE PROSKRIPSIE, PRESKRIPTIEF, PROSKRIPTIEF, VAKWOORDEBOEKE


Keywords


COGNITIVE FUNCTION; COMMUNICATION FUNCTION; CULTUREDEPENDENT; DESCRIPTIVE; EXACT PROSCRIPTION; EXCLUSIVE PROSCRIPTION; LGP DICTIONARIES; LSP DICTIONARIES; NON-RECOMMENDED FORM; PRESCRIPTIVE; PROSCRIPTIVE; RECOMMENDATION; TYPES OF USERS; USER PERSPECTIVE

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/20-0-141

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

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