Who can Really be Called a Lexicographer?

  • Rufus H. Gouws Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Keywords: emlex, lexicographer, lexicographic practice, lexicographic process, lexicographic research, lexicographic training, metalexicographer, practical lexicographer, primary lexicographer, secondary lexicographer, theoretical lexicographer


Lexicographers define words but still lack a clear and unambiguous understanding of the word lexicographer. This paper gives a brief discussion of the problems experienced in trying to determine exactly what a lexicographer is. The distinction between theoretical and practical lexicographers is quite clear but within both these categories there are grey areas where it is not so clear whether a specific participant in lexicographic activities qualifies to be called a lexicographer. The lack of formal professional lexicographic qualifications impedes an unambiguous understanding of the word. The emergence of lexicography as an independent discipline compels lexicographers to take a closer look at criteria relevant to identifying someone as being a lexicographer.
How to Cite
Gouws, R. H. (2012). Who can Really be Called a Lexicographer?. Lexikos, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.5788/22-1-1004