Manual of Specialised Lexicography: The Preparation of Specialised Dictionaries (review)
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Reviews251 tion (152), one ofthe interesting points ofwhich is an important passage on the problem of 'possible features', i.e., features that are not minimally distinctive, hence theoretically unnecessary, but still highly informative. As far as the terminological and terminographic products are concerned, printed versions are analyzed separately from terminological databanks. The section on die latter topic contains highly useful subsections on type and quality of data, and on programs and software for retrieval and interrogation. The last sections on the various national and international institutions and their regulatory activities (158) bring us to die next to last chapter, die one dealing widi the legal status of standardization . The translation again occasionally renders comprehension somewhat difficult. For example, in order to understand a sentence (179) asserting diat a legally normative text very often "is constitutional by its generality but only amounts to a declaration of intent," whereas a simple order or decree may have more immediate impact, one must realize that the term 'constitutional' is not intended in the American English meaning, i.e., = 'valid', because it is opposed to 'unconstitutional, hence not valid', but rather in the meaning of 'constitutional ', i.e., 'basic', not casuistically normative. This chapter also contains a decisive discussion ofthe notion of linguistic norm (167). The discussion is based on French attitudes toward norm and normative activities. This is one of the best descriptions in English of die French attitudes. Chapter 1 1 , the last in the book, offers a case study, namely of the terminology in Le Grand Robert, which is a general-language dictionary edited by the author. The summary of his experience is most instructive. In sum, the book is most valuable and interesting. Manual of Specialised Lexicography: The Preparation of Specialised Dictionaries. 1995. Henning Bergenholtz and Sven Tarp. With contributions by Grete Duvâ, Anne-Lise Laursen, Sandro Nielsen, Ole NordingChristensen , and Jette Pedersen. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins . 254 pages. $49.95 hardcover. The book contains a step-by-step description of the ways of compiling a dictionary of a specialized register. At each of these steps, the authors discuss all the options open at that stage, so that the treatment is methodologically rich. The major portion of this book was written by Bergenholtz and Tarp, and at some distance, by Nielsen. The authorship of each section is clearly indicated in the Preface; in any case, one of die achievements of the primary authors is diat the final printed text is seamless, completely unified in style, and devoid of repetitions . The Manual, comprising 13 chapters, deals first with the basic notions; as the first step, a delineation between terminology (and terminography) on the one hand, and specialized lexicography on the other, is sought, motivated by die notion that terminology is necessarily prescriptive. What is meant by this is that 252Reviews terminology must necessarily be based on die normative authority of a board, committee, or institute that has decided which terms should be used and what meanings diese terms are to carry. This certainly is, in general, true, but only in areas where such normative institutions actually exist; if one examines a dictionary of, say, linguistic terminology (such as Akhmanova 1966, Knobloch 1961, or Springhetti 1962), one will find descriptive explanations of synonymic and homonymie terms; diere is notiiing else that can be done in die absense of any normative authority, particularly when die lexicographer is faced widi contradictory understandings of the same terms by competent schools of linguistic thought. In any case, by 'specialised lexicography' die authors mean, broadly speaking, a lexicography diat deals widi special languages and registers. How much professionaljargon and even general-language vocabulary should, or may, also be included in such specialized dictionaries is one of the points on which individual lexicographers differ. These preliminary clarifications lead to a discussion of the basic problems of specialized lexicography, such as dictionary functions and die like. Particularly important and well-conceived is section 3.5, 'die use ofcomputers in specialised dictionary making'. It is a detailed discussion of methods for building corpora, concordances, and databases, and for editing dictionary entries. The discussion is highly concrete and replete with examples, and with indications and comparative discussions of software programs; it will...