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The lexicography or lexicography ( ancient Greek λεξικὸν βιβλίον lexikòn biblíon "dictionary" and γράφω "write", cf. -graphie ) deals with the creation of dictionaries . Creating a dictionary is a complex and usually lengthy process. In all larger projects, the work is carried out by several people. It leads to a printed dictionary, an electronic dictionary or a lexical database, which can be the basis for both.

Phases of the creation of a dictionary

  • In the planning phase, the dictionary subject (e.g. the language of Goethe) and the dictionary base (e.g. a corpus of texts written by Goethe) are determined. The necessary work material - corpus, further literature, computers, software, etc. - is provided. In the planning phase, sample articles and a guideline, which all lexicographers involved must adhere to, are also created. Above all, the manual defines the information program that must be created for each type of description unit.
  • In the next phase, the units are selected that are to be processed as lemmas (e.g. the 100,000 most common words in contemporary German).
  • In the main phase, articles for the dictionary are created. The object of the description are the previously selected lemmas. The editors rely on the materials in the dictionary base, i.e. evidence , and on their own knowledge.
  • The finished articles are usually revised and corrected in several cycles until each article has been approved by the project management.
  • The final step is to prepare the material for printing or for access through an electronic dictionary interface.
  • After their appearance on the market, many dictionaries are revised, updated and reprinted again and again. The 25th edition of the Duden spelling dictionary was published in 2009 and contains around 5000 new entries.

Not every project includes all phases and in that order. Many phases overlap in a specific project. In particular, a prior selection of the units is often not given, especially for long-term projects.

In its history that began in the 16th century , lexicography developed its own workshop language that is not necessarily understandable for laypeople.

The lexicographical process, its products, the dictionaries, their history, structure and use are objects of metalexicography (dictionary research). Occasionally, scientific work with dictionaries is also referred to as lexicography .

Related disciplines

Lexicography is closely related, but not identical, to the linguistic discipline of lexicology . Lexicology systematically examines parts of the vocabulary of a language without wanting to encode it completely.

The encyclopedia or encyclopedia deals with the creation of encyclopedic reference works.

See also


  • Henning Bergenholtz, Sven Tarp: The modern lexicographical functional theory. Contribution to the discussion on new and old paradigms that understand dictionaries as objects of daily use. In: Lexicographica. International Annual for Lexicography. Vol. 18, 2002, ISSN  0175-6206 , pp. 253-263.
  • Stefan Engelberg, Lothar Lemnitzer: Lexicography and dictionary use (= Stauffenburg introductions. Vol. 14). Stauffenburg, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-86057-285-7 .
  • Csaba Földes : What is a large dictionary? On the problem of the size classes of language lexicons. In: Jarmo Korhonen (Ed.): From mono to bilingual lexicography for German (= Finnish contributions to German studies. Vol. 6). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2001, ISBN 3-631-38361-4 , pp. 31-42 (see: http://www.vein.hu/german/grosswoerterbuch.html ).
  • Colin Good: Lexicography and Linguistic Theory with Special Reference to German. In: New German Studies. 15, 1988, pp. 81-110.
  • Rufus H. Gouws, Ulrich Heid, Wolfgang Schweickard, Herbert Ernst Wiegand (edd.): Dictionaries. An International Encyclopedia of Lexicography . Supplementary Volume: Recent Developments with Focus on Electronic and Computational Lexicography . Boston / Berlin 2013.
  • Ulrike Haß-Zumkehr: German dictionaries - focus of language and cultural history. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York NY 2001, ISBN 3-11-014885-4 .
  • Franz Josef Hausmann, Oskar Reichmann, Herbert Ernst Wiegand, Ladislav Zgusta (edd.): Dictionaries. An international handbook on lexicography . Volume 3, Berlin / New York 1989–1991.
  • Helmut Henne (Ed.): Practice of Lexicography: Reports from the Workshop (= German Linguistics . Volume 22). Tuebingen 1979.
  • Thomas Herbst , Michael Klotz: Lexicography (= UTB 8263). Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2003, ISBN 3-8252-8263-5 .
  • Sidney Landau: Dictionaries. The Art and Craft of Lexicography. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge u. a. 2001, ISBN 0-521-78040-3 .
  • Sandro Nielsen: The Effect of Lexicographical Information Costs on Dictionary Making and Use. In: Lexikos. Vol. 18, 2008, ISSN  1684-4904 , pp. 170-189 ( online ).
  • Oskar Reichmann: Historical Lexicography. Ideas, realizations, reflections on examples from German, Dutch and English (= Studia Linguistica Germanica 111). de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-028255-9 .
  • Michael Schlaefer: Lexicology and Lexicography. An introduction using the example of German dictionaries (= Basics of German Studies. Vol. 40). 2nd, revised edition. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-503-09863-7 .
  • Herbert Ernst Wiegand : Dictionary research. Studies on dictionary use, theory, history, criticism and automation of lexicography. Volume 1. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York NY 1998, ISBN 3-11-013584-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Lexicography  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus-Peter Wegera (Ed.): Studies on Early New High German Lexicology and Lexicography of the 16th Century (= Studies on Early New High German 8). Partly published from the estate of Arno Schirokauer . Heidelberg 1987.