Diasystematic Information in the "Big Five": A Comparison of Print Dictionaries, CD-ROMS/DVD-ROMS and Online Dictionaries

  • Marjeta Vrbinc Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Alenka Vrbinc Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Keywords: diasystematic information, taxonomies of diasystematic information, labels, monolingual learner's dictionaries, print dictionaries, dictionaries on cd-roms/dvd-roms, online dictionaries, restrictions and limitations concerning use, lists of labels in fron


The information provided by labels is called diasystematic information, which gives restrictions and limitations concerning the use of a lexical item. The focus of the study, the findings of which are presented in this contribution, is five British monolingual learner's dictionaries (OALD9, LDOCE6, COBUILD7, CALD4, MED2), which are often referred to as the "Big Five". The aims of the study are to compare the print edition and the electronic versions (CD-ROM/DVD-ROM and online dictionaries) of the same dictionary to see whether the lists of labels used in one particular dictionary coincide across versions of one and the same dictionary. Parallels are then drawn between dictionaries to determine similarities and differences in the use of labels providing different types of diasystematic information. Some of the most important findings of the study are that lists of labels differ in all three versions of one and the same dictionary and that some labels enumerated in the lists either are not used in the A–Z section at all or are used in a different form. Apart from that, some labels used in the dictionaries are so close in interpretation that the intended user will probably experience difficulty in distinguishing between them.Keywords: diasystematic information; taxonomies of diasystematic information; labels; monolingual learner's dictionaries; print dictionaries; dictionaries on cd-roms/dvd-roms; online dictionaries; restrictions and limitations concerning use; lists of labels in front matter; actual use of labels