Lexicography, Culture and Mediation. Or Why a Good Lexicographer Must Also Be a Good Cultural Mediator

  • Martina Nied Curcio Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy


Culture-bound items are often omitted in lexicographic resources, and when they are present, they are rarely described in an appropriate way, especially in bilingual dictionaries: the listed equivalents often do not reflect the meaning of the cultural word precisely, usage examples may be missing and above all — especially for a non-native speaker — important information on the cultural level is omitted (Nied Curcio 2020). Communication problems and misunderstandings which are triggered not by divergences on the linguistic level, but on the cultural level, can arise between speakers of different languages and cultures. Specific cultural knowledge and an advanced level of intercultural competence are required. Mediation of texts and concepts and using mediation strategies can provide significant input developing the lexicographer's intercultural competence, which is essential for an adequate lexico­graphic description of cultural aspects. Mediators often resort to their plurilinguistic and pluricul­tural repertoire and use mediation strategies. The same skills can also be harnessed by lexicogra­phers for adequate and successful descriptions of culture-bound items in lexicographic resources. In this article the focus is on the concept of mediation; the Companion Volume of the Common Euro­pean Frame­work of Reference for Languages (2018) shows parallels in the requirements of skills between mediators and lexicographers, and advocates the use of mediation strategies by lexicogra­phers to ensure that cultural information is adequately represented in the dictionary. Keywords: bilingual dictionaries, cultural items, translation, inter­cultural competence, mediation, mediation strategies, plurilingual com­petence, pluricultural competence

Author Biography

Martina Nied Curcio, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy
How to Cite
Nied Curcio, M. (2023). Lexicography, Culture and Mediation. Or Why a Good Lexicographer Must Also Be a Good Cultural Mediator. Lexikos, 33(2), 95-106. https://doi.org/10.5788/33-2-1842