Trans-European Language Resources Infrastructure - II

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Metalexicography and Reusability of Bilingual Dictionaries

Alexandra Jarosova
Ludovit Stur Linguistics Institute
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Bratislava, Slovakia

The paper compares various types of bilingual entry lay-out (with the English as a source language) and examines the eligibility of their English framework to serve as a basis for other bilingual dictionaries.

Different aproaches to the arrangement of the etry structure can be examined in the dictionary typology context in terms of dictionary’s directionality and functionality. Passive dictionary (foreign language L2 mother tongue L1) serves both as a tool for comprehension and translation. Active dictionary performes two functions too: generation (of a text) and translation from one text to another. Two main functions of the passive dictionary reflects themselves into the existence of two types of bilingual dictionary - explanatory and translational.

Explanatory mode reveals in different types of bilingual/bilingualized entry structure:

  1. bilingualized entry (Password type and Bridge type; the differencies are also in the definition style);
  2. meaning-structured entry (sense sections are structured according to monoligual dictionary of the source language):
    1. with a cumulative equivalent (i.e. a list of non-discriminated equivalents is given for each sense of the lemma);
    2. with a prototypical (systematic, canonical) equivalent conveying an individual sense of the lemma.

Translational mode manifests itself in various realizations of equivalent-structured entry in which the equivalent can be discriminated by the explanation or/and by the contextualization (short simple definition, synonym, superordinate, register labels, valency, list of collocates, context indicators). Sense sections are created according to individual equivalents or groups of equivalents. Sense sections can be either numbered or delineated by semicolons.

Which bilingual/bilingualized dictionaries and how could serve as a basis for other bilingual/multilingual dictionaries?

The most appropriate entry in terms of lexicographical data reusability is the entry with a rich contextual and collocational information expressed by the bracketed list of collocates (rather than by the class indicators) and by the indicators showing attitudinal and contextual nuances. Possible ways of the information restructuralization for the reusability purposes will be illustrated with the Oxford Hachette French Dictionary entries. Problems with transformation of the predominantly active dictionary to the passive one will be shown.

Many problems raise in the process of correlating equivalents given in two or more national versions of bilingualized dictionary ( Password type) because the different versions cope with different cases of lexical anisomorphism, they use different means of conveying the source meaning (e.g. more general equivalent vs. several partial) even in cases when the constellation between the English lemma and lexical units of the two or more target languages is parallel .

Good matching of different national equivalents can be reached on the basis of those Bridge entries that give concrete collocates or indicators of collocational paradigms of the lemma.

Entry with the cumulative equivalent in combination with the highly contextualized entry type can serve as a supplementary source of a reusable information about the scope of possible equivalents.

The low-structured entry with the prototypical (systemic) equivalent has a very restricted reusability.

Which contents and how can serve as a tertium comparationis in a multilingual dictionary? Two kinds of the comparison basis are examined:

  1. conceptual entity as a basis for the multilingual onomasiological paradigm;
  2. collocational paradigms of a word as a basis for a multiply reverisble list of language entities.

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© TELRI, 19.11.1999