Textual Condensation in Printed Dictionaries. A Theoretical Draft

Herbert Ernst Wiegand


This article presents an excerpt from a theory of lexicographic texts which deals particularly with dictionary articles. Almost all characteristics of dictionary articles considered as typically lexicographic may be regarded as results of textual condensation processes. A theory of textual condensation in lexicography thus makes it possible to analyse the lexicographic textual condensation from a uniform perspective; it allows us to calculate exactly the degree of textual condensation, it contributes to the construction of a scientific predicate <i>user-friendlier as</i>, and gives us insights which will make the formulation of dictionary articles more teachable.

The theory consists of two parts: a partial theory of inner and a partial theory of outer textual condensation. The first part explains in which way textual condensation may be understood as a process leading from a full text (a text showing complete cohesion and explicit syntax) to a condensed article text (with addressing as syntax substitute and dependence on a metatext). With respect to a monosemous lemma sign, the textual condensation process goes through only one stage, to be exemplified here. With respect to a polysemous lemma sign, there is a second stage, including shifts to the left. Certain article types with certain microstructures such as the annexed microstructures may go through a third stage of textual condensation, accompanied by shifts to the right.

The second part of the theory deals with the condensation processes which regard the carriers of the guiding element and which, inter alia, lead to reference articles and lemma clusters.

Finally, attention is drawn to a different form of textual condensation regarding the proportion of printed characters in relation to the total printed matter.


lexicography, textual condensation, lexicographic theory, dictionary article, lexicographic textualization, lexicographic terminology, lexicographic microstructure, lexicographic macrostructure, inner textual condensation, outer textual condensation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/6-1-1029


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

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