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A DICTIONARY OF REAL ENGLISH VERSUS THE BEST DICTIONARY AVAILABLE. EFL LEXICOGRAPHY TADEUSZ PIOTROWSKI The title of this paper uses the publicity slogans of two dictionaries : Collins-Cobuild English Language Dictionary (1987; CCELD) and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1987; LDOCE). They are both aimed primarily at foreign learners of English and their teachers and belong to so-called EFL lexicography. EFL lexicography, as reflected in the two dictionaries, will be discussed in this paper.1 The two dictionaries are very important for both the description of English they offer and the methods they use. They both set out to describe in great detail the core vocabulary of English, i.e., its most frequent words. Thus, they are important to anyone with an interest in such vocabulary; the difficulty of its description was appreciated by the great lexicographers of the past, e.g., by Murray and Gove. As for the methods used, it might be said that in one dictionary we see a certain venerable tradition brought almost to perfection, and in the other we see an attempt to break fresh ground and to provide new solutions. LDOCE 2 The 1987 LDOCE is the second edition of the 1978 dictionary , and the blurb calls it "a totally revised version." This is true: in fact, there are so many changes that LDOCE 2 is very much a new dictionary. Also, because the typography in LDOCE 2 is different from that in LDOCE 1, LDOCE 1 now seems a very untidy and disorderly dictionary. The greatest change is perhaps in the grammatical codes. LDOCE 1 used a very roundabout method: codes, e.g. [V3], referred to a table containing the classification of grammatical features of English words. In the new version the user is offered this information directly, and [V3] is [obj + to-v]. Moreover, practically all the entries have been written anew: there are new and better 21 22EFL Lexicography examples and differently worded definitions, which include more pragmatic information. There are also changes in the macrostructure. Phrasal verbs are now listed under the main verbs, and arrows are used to indicate the mobility of the prepositional element. Word-formation elements now form a new, separate section. We have a greater number of illustrations, which are generally better, and some of them show semantic groups of abstract relations (cf. collective noun, damage, pan, pull, and pot). At pot the picture could also include chamber pot. CCELD has no illustrations. LDOCE 2 also has a greater number of cross-references to related entries, synonyms, antonyms, or larger notes. Thus imminent now has "compare EMINENT, IMPENDING," and immerse 2 has a synonym ABSORB after the definition. There are more usage notes, which discuss points of correct usage and grammar or provide fine discriminations between synonyms. At device, for example, device, gadget, machine, appliance, instrument, tool, and implement are discussed in twenty lines. A new feature is extended Language Notes. These fall into two groups: notes on grammar (e.g., Articles, Collocations, Gradable and Nongradable adjectives) and notes on what the editors call "pragmatics," which is actually expressions used in phatic communication (e.g., addressing people, apologies, criticism, and praise). The latter group is covered quite well by good phrasebooks. By these techniques LDOCE 2 partly overcomes the absurdity of its alphabetic arrangement and can more easily be felt as a whole. Finally, American English is treated even more explicitly and exhaustively than before. All these features will be very useful to the users, but one thing remains unchanged: the conception of EFL lexicography. Tadeusz Piotrowski23 A Dictionary ofReal English In its publicity campaign CCELD is called a dictionary of "real English": it offers so many new facts about English that it describes the language more accurately than any other comparable monolingual dictionary. I think that this claim is generally true. Let me provide an example. I have some favorite words with which to check new dictionaries. One of them is specialist, an attributive noun or adjective.2 Here are some examples: specialist English registers (OALDCE 197'4, x) Specialist Editor (OALDCE 1980, vi) specialist English usage (xi) How to use specialist English words: "specialist" areas (xxvii) a particular specialist field (Chambers 1980, xiii...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 21-58
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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