What is a Dictionary?

  • Henning Bergenholtz Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Republic of South Africa and Centre for Lexicography, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Keywords: dictionary, lexicon, encyclopaedia, lexicography, information tool, lexicographic tool, research registration, lexicographic database, monofuntional dictionary, polyfunctional dictionary


By comparing different definitions in dictionaries and in theoretical papers we know that lexicographers have very different opinions on the topic: "What is a dictionary?" We see too that lexicographic tools with the same type of content sometimes are called dictionary, sometimes encyclopedia, sometimes lexicon. In reality it is not a large problem if the information in a certain tool is of a high quality as to the intended function. Nevertheless I will give not one but two additional definitions of two different types of information tools. There will also be a discussion on the relevance for the concept of dictionary in connection with the research registration in universities.
How to Cite
Bergenholtz, H. (2012). What is a Dictionary?. Lexikos, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.5788/22-1-995