Multimodal Lexicography: The Representation of Meaning in Electronic Dictionaries

Robert Lew

Abstract


ABSTRACT: One finding of user studies is that information on meaning tends to be what dictionary users want most from their dictionaries. This is consistent with the traditional image of the dictionary as a repository of meanings of words, and this is also borne out in definitions of the item DICTIONARY itself as given in dictionaries. While this popular view has not changed much, the growing role of electronic dictionaries can change the lexicographers' approach to meaning representation. Traditionally, paper dictionaries have explained words with words, using either a definition or an equivalent, and occasionally a line-drawn picture. However, a prominent feature of the electronic medium is its multimodality, and this offers potential for the description of meaning. While it is much easier to include pictorial content, electronic dictionaries can also hold media objects which paper cannot carry, such as audio, animation or video. Publishers are drawn by the attraction of these new options, but are they always functionally useful for the dictionary users? In this article, the existing evidence is examined, and informed guesses are offered where evidence is not yet available.

OPSOMMING: Multimodale leksikografie: Die voorstelling van betekenis in elektroniese woordeboeke. Een bevinding van gebruikerstudies is dat inligting oor betekenis dit blyk te wees wat woordeboekgebruikers die meeste van hul woordeboeke verlang. Dit is in ooreenstemming met die tradisionele beeld van die woordeboek as 'n bewaarplek van die betekenisse van woorde, en dit word ook bevestig deur die definisies van die item WOORDEBOEK self soos aangebied in woordeboeke. Terwyl hierdie populêre siening nie veel verander het nie, kan die toenemende rol van elektroniese woordeboeke leksikograwe se benadering tot betekenisvoorstelling verander. Tradisioneel het papierwoordeboeke woorde met woorde verduidelik deur óf 'n definisie, óf 'n ekwivalent te gebruik, en soms 'n lyngetekende illustrasie. 'n Opvallende kenmerk van die elektroniese medium is sy multimodaliteit, en dit bied 'n moontlikheid vir die beskrywing van betekenis. Terwyl dit baie makliker is om illustratiewe inhoud in te sluit, kan elektroniese woordeboeke ook mediaobjekte bevat wat papier nie kan oordra nie, soos oudio, animasie en video. Uitgewers word aangetrek deur hierdie nuwe keuses, maar is hulle altyd funksioneel nuttig vir die woordeboekgebruikers? In hierdie artikel word bestaande getuienis ondersoek en ingeligte raaiskote aangebied waar getuienis nog nie beskikbaar is nie.

Sleutelwoorde: ELEKTRONIESE WOORDEBOEK, BETEKENIS, ILLUSTRASIE, ANIMASIE, OUDIO, KLANKEFFEKTE, VIDEO, MULTIMODALITEIT, GESPESIALISEERDE LEKSIKOGRAFIE, AANLEERDERSWOORDEBOEK


Keywords


ELECTRONIC DICTIONARY; MEANING; ILLUSTRATION; ANIMATION; AUDIO; SOUND EFFECTS; VIDEO; MULTIMODALITY; SPECIALIZED LEXICOGRAPHY; LEARNER'S DICTIONARY

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/20-0-144

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

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