Lexicographic Data Boxes Part 3: Aspects of Data Boxes in Bilingual Dictionaries and a Perspective on Current and Future Data Boxes

  • Rufus H. Gouws Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • D.J. Prinsloo Department of African Languages, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Keywords: dictionaries, data boxes, pop-up boxes, hyperlinking, African languages, Sepedi, isiZulu, search domain, search universe, data distribution


This article, the third in a series of three on lexicographic data boxes, firstly focuses on a number of aspects of data boxes in bilingual dictionaries with the emphasis on different approaches in bilingual dictionaries with an African language as one of the members of the treated language pair. It is not possible to provide a comprehensive discussion within the limitations of an article. Then the discussion proceeds by looking at some new ways of using data boxes in online dictionaries. It is shown that the possibilities of the new medium allow lexicographers to employ data boxes in both traditional and non-traditional ways. It is argued that data boxes are expected to fulfil a variety of purposes ranging from navigational information and the provision of salient information to giving access to relevant data in dictionary-internal and dictionary-external sources. Lexicographers of online dictionaries have introduced new ways of using data boxes that have not yet been fully discussed in metalexicographic literature. This article gives an identification and a brief discussion of some of these innovative uses of data boxes. It stresses the potential that the online environment offers lexicography. Practical and theoretical lexicographers need to be aware of these possibilities and challenges. By embarking on a more comprehensive use of data boxes dictionaries can become even better containers of knowledge and can serve their users in an optimal way.