Dictionaries and language policy

Authored by: Dion Nkomo

The Routledge Handbook of Lexicography

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138941601
eBook ISBN: 9781315104942
Adobe ISBN:


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The references listed at the end of this contribution, especially those recommended for further reading, indicate that the topic of dictionaries and language policy is not new. Earlier publications (Noyes 1943; Litto 1963; Haugen 1985) suggest that the relationship between dictionaries and language policy might be as old as lexicography. Publications dealing with African contexts (Bergenholtz and Gouws 2006; Gouws 2005, 2007; Gouws and Potgieter 2010; Hadebe 2007; Ndinga-Koumba-Binza 2005; Tarp and Gouws 2008) indicate a symbiotic relationship which presents lexicography and language planning as part–whole, if not twin processes, in language development. A two-pronged argument is therefore made: (1) lexicography has been largely influenced by language policy, regardless of whether such policies are in place or prospective, overt or covert; and (2) lexicography has significantly influenced language policy in terms of status and functions of specific languages.

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