The Structure of an Afrikaans Collocation and Phrase Dictionary

  • Anna Nel Otto Department of Afrikaans, Vista University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Keywords: lexicography, collocation dictionary, lexical collocations, grammatical collocations, transitional collocations, idioms, free combination, prototype, selectional restrictions, base, collocator


In this article an Afrikaans collocation and phrase dictionary for mother-tongue speakers (primary target group) as well as advanced learners (secondary target group) is discussed. The position which such a dictionary occupies among other dictionary types is pointed out. A motivation is also given for the inclusion of idioms and other fixed phrases in the proposed dictionary. The three key approaches with regard to the interpretation of the term collocation are examined, i.e. the text-oriented approach of Halliday and Hasan (1976), the statistically-oriented approach of Sinclair (Collins Cobuild) and the significance-oriented approach of Hausmann (1984). The arguments in this article favour Benson et al.’s (1986) implementation of the significance-oriented approach. Statistical evidence could be used to examine the usage frequency of collocations and phrases. The advantages and/or disadvantages of these approaches are considered. Three types of words and their treatment in the dictionary are discussed: those which have a very wide range of combination, those which have selectional restrictions imposed by general semantic features, and those of which the range of combination is restricted by certain other words. It is argued that only the last two types should be included in this dictionary. As one of the target groups is unsophisticated learners with a limited grammatical background, the ideal would be to enter lexical collocations both at their bases and at the collocators. To save space however, more information such as examples could then be provided at the bases only. Grammatical collocations should be entered at the bases, i.e. nouns, verbs and adjectives. The division of the dictionary articles into two components to meet the needs of both intended target groups, is discussed.  
How to Cite
Otto, A. N. (2012). The Structure of an Afrikaans Collocation and Phrase Dictionary. Lexikos, 8(1).
Beskouende artikels / Contemplative Articles