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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Abstract

GOUWS, Rufus H. Macrostructural adaptations between printed and e-dictionaries. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.3, pp.481-504. ISSN 2224-7912.

Lexicography has a practical component, i.e. the writing of dictionaries, and a theoretical component. The formulation of a general theory of lexicography has mostly been directed at printed dictionaries. The emergence of e-lexicography has confronted lexicographers with the option to devise a new and independent theory for online lexicography, resulting in two separate theories, or to adapt the existing theory by broadening its scope to include e-dictionaries. This would improve the strength of such a general theory of lexicography. In this paper the latter approach has been adopted. One of the focal points in a general theory of lexicography is the different dictionary structures. This paper focuses on adaptations for the transfer from printed to e-dictionaries with regard to only one of these lexicographic structures, i.e. the macrostructure. In an introductory section an overview is presented of some developments in theoretical lexicography and the task facing modern-day theoretical lexicographers to decide whether structures devised for printed dictionaries can be maintained in e-dictionaries and whether existing terminology still suffices. A brief account is then given of macrostructures in printed dictionaries and some underlying theoretical approaches. Various interpretations of the concept of the macrostrucure are indicated. Different types ofmacrostructures are discussed. Within the category of alphabetical macrostructures the need for an access alphabet is emphasised. Subtypes of macrostructural procedures like nesting and niching are discussed and illustrated. Reference is also made to their possible occurrence in e-dictionaries. Three major typological criteria of macrostructures, i.e. the ordering of macrostructural elements, the existence of external data-accessibility and the class membership ofmicrostructural elements are mentioned and it is indicated that the focus will be on only one of these criteria, i.e. the ordering ofmacrostructural elements. Besides the main macrostructure, emphasis is also placed on article stretches as immediate constituents of macrostructures. The paper thenfocuses on e-dictionaries and within this category only on online dictionaries and not on CD-ROM dictionaries. It is stated and illustrated that e-dictionaries often seem to have no macrostructural ordering device. However, analysing and discussing different access possibilities in e-dictionaries to reach the required lemma it is shown that albeit that e-dictionaries do not display a traditional macrostructure as ordering device and as an instrument to ensure the lexicographic coverage of the subject matter of a given dictionary, there are various other ordering structures. Looking at the use of alphabet bars to guide the user to article stretches the paper shows how existing e-dictionaries do not only use article stretches and partial article stretches to order lemmata but they also employ lemma stretches and partial lemma stretches. Users have the option to employ a rapid access to a desired lemma, a procedure that does not rely on any macrostructural ordering. They also have the option to use a longer version of the access process and reach their target lemma via a browsing function that allows them to page through a dictionary or via alphabet bars and article stretches. This establishes the poly-accessibility of e-dictionaries. The use of alphabet bars is an innovative feature of e-dictionaries. An alphabet bar is a point of departure of a consultation process and also a starting point to reach all microstructural elements in an ordered and systematic way. Prevailing e-dictionaries use article and lemma stretches in different ways to enhance the access process. As is the case in printed dictionaries provision is also made for functional partial article and lemma stretches that cluster articles or lemmata in accordance with criteria of the genuine purpose of a given dictionary. It is shown that e-lexicography does utilise a range of features typical of macrostructures. The use of article and lemma stretches is enhanced and expanded, and along with alphabet bars, they are the major ordering structures of many e-dictionaries. As ordering structures they also play an important role to satisfy the criterion of external data-accessibility.

Keywords : access structure; article stretch; e-lexicography; lemma stretch; macro-structure; nest lemmata; niche lemmata; ordering structure; partial article stretch; partial lemma stretch; printed dictionaries; rapid search; sinuous ordering; strict alphabetical ordering; theoretical lexicography.

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