- European Lexicography: Perspectives on Dictionary Research, with Special Reference to the Countries of the European Union
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 21, 2000
- pp. 1-21
- View Citation
- Additional Information
European Lexicography: Perspectives on Dictionary Research, with Special Reference to the Countries of the European Union Reinhard Hartmann Introduction Cexicography in Europe has a long and distinguished tradition over many centuries and for many languages. Against this background, there have been significant developments in recent times in terms of its professional consolidation, theoretical modelbuilding , and organizational framework. I have been interested in and involved with some of these and, since my survey of Linguistics in Western Europe (Hartmann 1972) , have made a number of contributions to international discussions about such topics as lexicographic conferences (Hartmann 1990), general lexicography in Europe (Hartmann 1993), lexicographic training (Hartmann 1986b and 1992), and the use of dictionaries (Hartmann 1999a). In this paper, which is based on material presented at the 12th DSNA meeting at Berkeley in May 1999, I should like to provide a glimpse of what is going on in Europe in theoretical lexicography (for which I use the term "dictionary research") in five of its main specialisms : dictionary history, dictionary typology, dictionary criticism, dictionary use, and dictionary structure. At the end, I will ask what some of the implications of all this may be for our understanding of dictionaries and other reference works, as well as their compilers and users. Dictionaries:journal oftheDictionary Society ofAmerica 21 (2000) Reinhard Hartmann European lexicography There is probably no consensus on what exactly constitutes "European lexicography," or "lexicography in the European Union," particularly as no overall account of the facts has been published. Those that are known to me are presented in a table (see Appendix 1). The table is arranged in two parts, with the three leading countries (the United Kingdom, France, and Germany) at the top, and with the other 1 2 member states of the European Union at the bottom. For each of these, I have indicated the main languages (N for "national," R for "regional," and M for "minority" languages) , the number of universities and the names of some of those institutions which offer a specialization in lexicography, the major conferences held, particularly EURALEX congresses, and some references to representative publications .1 Why single out three "leaders"? This is not my idea, but Franz Josef Hausmann's, who used the phrase les troispaysages for referring to British, French, and German achievements in the field of lexicography , in terms of their established traditions, their productivity, and their many theoretical and practical innovations (1985). Their contributions to university courses, conferences, and publications in lexicography have also been considerable in the last 10 or 15 years. The other 12 countries on the list are neither so well endowed, nor are their lexicographic achievements so well documented. Fewer higher education programs in lexicography are offered, fewer conferences have been held, and for some very little literature is available. I might single out for special treatment the Nordic countries which have not only contributed significantly to EURALEX congresses (one hosted in Finland, another in Sweden), but to a regional society, the Nordisk Forening for Leksikografi, which in turn has held five biennial conferences since 1991 and sponsored the yearbook LexicoNordica and a multilingual dictionary of lexicography, the Nordisk leksikografisk ordbok . Denmark not only boasts a separate national dictionary society, but a series of biennial Symposia on Lexicography, a total of 9 held since 1982.2 1In the table, a question mark indicates lack of data; three dots signify that there is more of the same. 2For any reader particularly interested in lexicography and terminology in the Nordic countries, there is a good Website titled "Nordiclex" listed, together with other websites, at the end of the bibliography. European Lexicography One Nordic country, Norway, is not on the list because (like all eastern European states) it is not a member of the European Union. Norwegians and Icelanders are particularly active participants in the Nordic Lexicographic Society and its publications. Of the other nonUnion European countries, two have held EURALEX congresses: Switzerland and Hungary. And just so that I am not accused of antiEastern European prejudice, I am happy to acknowledge the well-developed lexicographic traditions there from the Baltic states down to Albania, and across all the countries with Slavonic languages, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Russia...