The concept of dictionary

Authored by: Sven Tarp

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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Few people involved in lexicography will deny that dictionaries are the raison d’être of their discipline. These artefacts have been produced in large numbers for more than 4,000 years. Apart from dictionaries, they have been referred to as glosses, glossaries, vocabularies, thesauri, lexicons, encyclopaedias, anthologies and resources, among various names. Many of these works have long ago been transformed into dust, and the rhythm of appearance and extinction is faster than ever before in today’s digital world. Nobody knows the exact number of published dictionaries, but we are probably speaking of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of different titles. These works have been compiled with very different technologies and presented on different media such as clay, papyrus, paper and various digital platforms, among them the Internet. They have been designed with a wide variety of purposes and have covered a large number of languages and areas of human knowledge.

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