Anna Dziemianko. User-friendliness of Verb Syntax in Pedagogical Dictionaries of English

Michaël Abecassis


To be user-friendly, monolingual and bilingual dictionaries for foreign users
must be both easy to use and easy to read. They are designed to help prospective
users both encode and decode, and to facilitate the comprehension of some
vocabulary items or particular grammatical constructions. However, it often
happens in practice that dictionaries are not used fully because some users are
not aware of the richness of their contents. In carrying out the redesign of their
dictionaries, lexicographers have been helped greatly by the views, needs, and
preferences of a wide range of language users, many of them, of course, from
schools and universities as well as general language learners. Further adaptations
always follow, based on the experience of using a new dictionary and for
this purpose feedback is always of great importance. In the process of establishing
a user-friendly dictionary, the changes, though extensive, remain modest
but in the much longer term, more complex changes take place to incorporate
revisions and give them new clarity and coherence across the many and
expanding contexts in which they are used. Whether this redesign actually
helps users is the subject of much research. Both traditional and electronic dictionaries
have now included a large number of tools in the definition, such as
IPA pronunciation, examples and syntactic information, often presented in the
shape of codes which will enable users not only to understand a particular
structure, but to be able to reuse it.

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