On the Metalexicographic Genre of Dictionary Reviews, with Specific Reference to LexicoNordica and Lexikos

Henning Bergenholtz, Rufus H. Gouws


Wiegand (1984) introduced dictionary criticism as a formal component of a general theory of lexicography. Since then many scholars have focused on various aspects of dictionary criticism. In this article a distinction is made between two major types of dictionary criticism, i.e. the review of metalexicographical literature and the review of dictionaries. In the review of dictionaries different types can be identified, i.e. a short discussion without a critical evaluation, a more comprehensive review, a review article, reaction to a review or a review article, a peer review and the evaluation of a dictionary as a part of a bigger metalexicographical contribution. This article gives a brief discussion of the scope of dictionary criticism and looks at some criteria for dictionary reviews before focusing on aspects of dictionary reviews in the Scandinavian journal of lexicography LexicoNordica and the South African lexicography journal Lexikos. A comparison is made between the reviews in these two journals, identifying striking similarities and differences. It is also shown that the reviews in Lexikos frequently refer to topics that are not as relevant to LexicoNordica. This is due to the fact that dictionaries reflect something of the linguistic and cultural environment where they are published.

Proposals are made to enhance the quality of reviews in Lexikos and to help ensure a stronger theoretical approach to reviews as a genre that elevates the metalexicographic discourse and improves the dictionary culture of a given community.


characteristics of a good review; dictionary criticism; dictionary culture; dictionary reviews; genuine purpose; metalexicographic publications; quality assurance; review articles; reviews; target readers

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/26-1-1358


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

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