The Oxford English Dictionary defines a dictionary as a "book dealing with
the individual words of a language (or certain specified class of them) so as
to set forth their orthography, pronunciation, signification and use, their synonyms,
derivation and history, or al least some of these facts, for convenience of reference
the words are arranged in some stated order, now in most languages, alphabetical,
and in larger dictionaries the information given in illustrated by quotations
of the components of the above definition "arranged in some stated order
alphabetical"1 has been extended to cover other reference books giving information
of different types in alphabetical order and the term dictionary can "apply
quite loosely to any reference work arranged by words or names". (Malkiel
1967. 23). Thus we have dictionaries of national biography, dictionary of folklore,
caritra kosa, abhidhaanakosa, dictionary of place names, etc.
classification of dictionaries is a very important aspect of lexicography "bearing
a direct practical significance" (Shcherba in Srivastaba 1968, 119) to the
preparation of dictionaries. The entire work of dictionary making from the planning
stage to the preparation of press copy, at its different stages, viz. collection
of materials, selection and setting of entries and arrangement of entries and
their meanings is largely governed on the basis of which the dictionary is classified.
can be classified into different types on the basis of several criteria, varying
from the nature of the lexical entry to the prospective user of the dictionary.
Below are presented some main criteria for the classification of dictionaries.2
Density of entries: whether the word list is general or restricted and special?
Does it also cover regional and social dialects, jargons and slangs and archaisms?
(2) The number of languages involved: monolingual, bilingual, multilingual etc.
(3) The nature of entries: whether lexical only or also encyclopaedic, the degree
of concentration on strictly lexical data.
(4) Axis of time: whether diachronic
(dynamic) or synchronic (static).
(5) Arrangement of entries: alphabetical
or semantic or causal.
(6) Purpose: whether normative or referential.
(7) The prospective user: whether meant for the general reader to find out general
linguistic information or for special users to know some special aspects of the
lexical unit say etymology etc.? Is it meant for the general language or only
for the language of literature, there too, the language of some author, here again
the language of some of his works?
these criteria can be applied, sometimes alone and sometimes with others, for
the classification of dictionaries. For example when we talk of the Sanskrit Dictionary
(Poona) we find that although its aim is to present history of the words, it treats
two languages and is arranged in alphabetical order. An etymological dictionary
presents the development of forms of the word, it has a very highly specialized
audience. The Malayalam Lexicon and Tamil Lexicon combine in them several classificatory
a typological classification is essential and has been attempted by many writers,
it is impossible to delimit the types into a strict water-tight frame work. When
we analyse any entry from any dictionary we usually find that many characteristics
of different types of dictionaries have been included in it. As we shall see later,
there is a large amount of overlapping in different types of dictionaries.
there is no clear cut division between the scope and the coverage of the dictionaries,
there are dictionaries with definite focus on some major aspect of the language.
are presenting below the description of different types of dictionaries classified
on the above criteria.
and linguistic Dictionaries:
with the degree of the inclusion of lexical (i.e. linguistic) and non-lexical
(i.e. encyclopaedic) information in the dictionary as also the treatment of each
individual item in it.
lexical or linguistic information pertains to linguistic characteristics of the
lexical unit viz., pronunciation, definition, etymology, grammatical category,
etc. the encyclopaedic information has the following features.
(a) the inclusion
of names of persons, places, and literary works,
(b) coverage of all branches
of human knowledge,
(c) extensive treatment of facts.
dictionaries, giving information of the former type, are called linguistic or
general dictionaries and those giving information of the latter type, the encyclopaedic
dictionaries. But before these are described it would be useful to make a distinction
between an encyclopaedia and an encyclopaedic dictionary. The encyclopaedia are
more concerned with the concepts and objects of extra linguistic would, that is
the things and in a narrow sense they may be called 'thing books'. Information
presented in them is under few general topics. Their aim is to present information,
as noted earlier, on all aspects of human knowledge. The items presented are more
of denotational character including names of plants, animals, diseases. They also
give historical events, geographical features, biographical sketches of important
personalities. Many items found in linguistic or general dictionaries do not find
place in them. Such items are function words, verbal forms, and variety of other
words e.g. Eng. he, she, Hindi jaanaa, 'go' agar 'if' Eng. father, mother etc.
The information provided is more detailed and relates to the history and the description
of the item.
encyclopaedic dictionary is a combination of an encyclopaedia and a linguistic
dictionary. It also includes items that are generally characteristic of an encyclopaedia
in addition to the items of a linguistic dictionary. In the amount of the information
and the manner of its presentation, again, it combines the features of both. As
a matter of fact, there can be no division like a linguistic dictionary and non-linguistic
dictionary equating the latter with encyclopaedic dictionary. As already stated
any dictionary combines the features of both. The bigger dictionaries like The
Century Dictionary, The Oxford English Dictionary, Malayalam Lexicon, Tamil Lexicon,
Hindi Sabda Sagar etc., are encyclopaedic but all of them are linguistic dictionaries.
the abridged and concise dictionaries present encyclopaedic information in so
far as they include proper names and explanation of culture items although it
has been contended if proper names (realia) could be included in the purely linguistic
dictionaries because it may make the dictionary encyclopaedic. (Zgusta 1971, 245-246).
So, many dictionaries give them not in the main body of the dictionary but in
appendices. An ordinary dictionary includes them only when they attain the status
of the common words.
linguistic dictionary deals with only the lexical stock i.e. words as speech material
and may be roughly called 'word book'. The linguistic dictionary usually attains
the status of the encyclopaedic dictionary in different ways, given below:-
(a) when a linguistic definition becomes inadequate to describe the lexical item,
especially when it is a culture bound word, the lexicographer has to include encyclopaedic
information e.g. Malto kud ko:la-n. 'an earthen pot in which the umbilical cord
is preserved'. Hindi baghnakh, baghnakhaa n. ek aabhuuÀan?a jisme N baagh
ke naakhuun caaNdii yaa sone meN mar?he hote hEN. 'a type of ornament in which
the nails of a tiger are studded in gold or silver'.
(b) In the definition
of certain words the encyclopaedic definition determines the underlying concept':
Coal n. 1. Hard opaque black or blackish mineral or vegetable matter found in
seams or strata below earth's surface and used as fuel and in manufacture of gas,
tar etc., (COD) cf. this definition with coal n. a black, hard substance that
burns and gives off heat. (Ladder Dictionary)
(c) when we give different meanings
of a polysemous word and mark them with labels, we give a hint that the meaning
belongs to a particular branch of human knowledge like botany, astronomy, medicine
etc,. impliedly indicating the encyclopaedic information there. The same thing
happens to the quotations in illustrative examples with citations. Again, when
we just refer to some work for further details about any type of cultural information,
we give indirectly encyclopaedic information.
the point of view of time the dictionaries can be either diachronic (dynamic)
or synchronic (static), the former dealing with words across time and the latter
at a particular point of time.
a matter of fact, it is very difficult to draw a line between diachronic and synchronic
dictionaries. Bigger dictionaries of synchronic/descriptive character, for that
matter even the smaller ones, have to include at least some amount of historical
information. When a dictionary gives the derivative source of a word in form of
the origin tag, usually appended to the head word in the lemma, there is an attempt
to give, however superficial it may be, the etymology of the word and in this
way the dictionary presents elements of diachronic nature.
dictionaries of many Indian language, meant for the understanding of the literature
of the language, include some words from texts of the earlier period. In these
cases the lexicographer has to arrange the different usages of the different senses
of a lexical unit in some chronological order and thus the descriptive dictionary
attains a historical colour. Again, when describing the lexical units of the language,
the lexicographer finds some words of rare use or gradually going out of use he
makes use of some labels, e.g. archaic, obsolete, obsolescent etc., to describe
these words. In doing so he takes his dictionary to the domain of the diachronic
and Etymological Dictionaries:
diachronic or historical dictionary has a special class in it which can be called
etymological. Although its focus is also to present the history of a lexical unit,
its form and purpose are totally different from historical dictionary and it has
a limited readership. Its word list is different from the general dictionaries,
even from the historical dictionary and in this regard it comes under special
type of dictionaries, described later.
main function of both the historical dictionary and the etymological dictionary
is to present the history of a lexical item. The difference lies in their approach.
The historical dictionary records the development of a lexical item in terms of
both the form and the meaning of the particular lexical unit, whereas the etymological
dictionary presents the origin of words by tracing the present day words to their
historical dictionary is concerned with a systematic study of changes affecting
a lexical unit during its life i.e. within a period from which there is evidence.
e.g. in OED from the days of King Alfred to the present time. In order to present
these changes in the structure and meaning of a word the lexicographer traces
it back to its earliest available occurrence in the literature of the languages
and records its development in subsequent stages of the language. In order to
do this the lexicographer makes use of all the available works of the language.
All the occurrences of the lexical units in different contexts in all works are
found out. These contexts are analysed and compared with each other. By doing
this, the lexicographer finds out the different senses of a lexical unit and finer
nuances of its meanings. Then these meanings and submeanings are arranged in chronological
order. As for the forms, the changes in their shape is also recorded chronologically.
But this is by no means a simple task. The number of words in a language is very
large and changes in case of all the words are difficult to record in all their
minor details. Moreover, the semantic changes of individual lexical items are
arbitrary and cannot be generalized. As a result the lexicographer has to analyse
a large amount of data to find out the semantic changes of a lexical unit.4
arises as to whether a historical dictionary can cover all the works available
in a language and give all citations for all the lexical items. No dictionary,
whatever be its resources, can afford to give all this. The lexicographer has
to choose some workable way for his dictionary. In order to do this, works are
at first listed. Then a selection of works as to which of them would form the
corpus of the dictionary is done. For selecting works for the dictionary, two
considerations govern the decision of the lexicographer: (1) time and (2) the
subject or theme. First, certain broad classifications can be made of the entire
period. This classification is based on some criterion like some landmark in the
history of the development of the language e.g. some outstanding author or some
notable literary or other event. Works from all the periods are selected for the
dictionary. The lexicographer has to see that all the periods in the history of
a language are given due and even attention. No period should be left without
proper representation, otherwise it would be impossible to find a coherent semantic
development of a lexical item. It has been contended whether a dictionary like
OED, which deals with all the periods of the history of the language, can be a
true historical dictionary. It is suggested that it would provide more scientific
and accurate account of the history of the words of a language if a particular
period is taken up and a detailed analysis of all the works of that period is
done, rather than taking total history and divide it into some periods and then
making generalizations. For this Period Dictionaries dealing with some particular
period may be prepared. A dictionary dealing with the entire period of the history
of the language may not do justice in presenting full picture of the semantic
history of the lexical stock of language.5
second point a lexicographer has to keep in mind while selecting works for a historical
dictionary is to see that all the subject fields are equally and evenly represented
in the corpus of the dictionary. For this representative works of all the branches
of human knowledge available in the language should be analysed. Variation of
region, style and subject matter should be carefully marked and entered in the
dictionary. The Sanskrit Dictionary (Poona) has used 1500 books as its source
material. Malayalam Lexicon has utilized 7000 works in addition to manuscripts
etc. besides these works, even the available dictionaries can be utilized. Kannada
Dictionary (Bangalore) analysed 2000 books and all available inscriptional material.
etymological dictionary, as stated earlier, traces the present word to its oldest
form and gives the parent form. The interest of an etymological dictionary is
primarily in the pre-history of the language. For arriving at the parent form
the lexicographer takes recourse to historical comparative method, wherein on
the basis of recurring correspondences of form and meaning of words in different
cognate languages, the protoword form or etymon is reconstructed.
some cased even when the dictionary does not give reconstructed protoforms it
may be considered etymological. In these cases a particular point in the development
of a language is fixed as a terminal point and the etymologies are traced back
to that point. For Indo-Aryan languages this point may be Sanskrit hypothetical
or reconstructed forms are given. Sometimes, though it is not scientific, the
nearer attested forms are given as the source word. Some dictionaries give only
the cognate forms e.g. Dravidian Etymological Dictionary.
etymological dictionaries have been classified in several categories on the basis
of the range of coverage, the number of languages covered etc. the most common
is the one which classifies the dictionaries on the fact whether the focus of
the dictionary is a single language or many languages. The dictionary with one
language as focus deals with the lexical items of one language. The entry of the
dictionary is given in that language. The origin of the words of this language
is traced back to the proto language. In this process cognate forms form related
languages are cited. Since the help of comparative method is taken by giving cognate
words such dictionaries develop into comparative dictionaries.
the dictionary which has many languages as its focus the entry word is given in
the proto language. The developed forms in different languages are given in the
description part of the entry.
borrowings in the language, the etymological dictionary gives the immediate source
of the borrowing, its original meaning and forms in cognate languages. If the
borrowing is through some other language, the name of the intermediate language
and the form therein are also given.
dictionary of borrowed or foreign word in a language can be included in the class
of etymological dictionary, because by giving the origin of these words the dictionary
provides clue to the etymology of these words.
the focus of the etymological and historical dictionaries is different, they are
not opposed to each other. Each one, on the other hand, can be helpful for the
other to get more reliable results. For an etymological dictionary the reconstruction
of proto forms gets greater authenticity if they are attested by forms in the
earlier stage of the history of the language. This information is made available
by the historical dictionary. Again, it is in the historical dictionary that we
find what new words are derived form the original word and at what stage.
the analytical and descriptive dictionaries contain some elements of an etymological
dictionary is so far as they give what is the derivation or the origin of the
word. In descriptive dictionaries, the etymological analysis helps in solving
some of the basic problems of lexicography, Etymology helps in deciding the cases
of homonymy and polysemy and in ordering the sequence of the meanings of the polysemous
words by giving the original or basic meaning. Etymology also helps in solving
the problem of unclear meanings of some lexical units.
synchronic dictionaries are generally grouped into two classes, general and special.
General dictionaries contain those words of the language which are of general
use representing various spheres of life and presenting a complete picture of
the general language. They are meant for the general user of the language. Special
dictionaries either cover a specific part of the vocabulary or are prepared with
some definite purpose. By general dictionary it should not be understood that
it contains the entire lexical stock of the language. No dictionary, except the
dictionary of dead languages wherein the possibility of creation of new words
is severely restricted, can give all the words of a language. Although the general
dictionaries contain general word list some of the special dictionaries with their
focus on some particular purpose contain the general word lists. For example,
the dictionaries of pronunciation, the reverse dictionaries, the frequency counts
have special purpose but their word list is general.
The special dictionaries may be classed into the
following groups on the basis of the nature of their word lists:-
covering special geographical regions, social dialects or special spheres of human
(2) Their formal shape,
(3) Their semantic aspect and their
relational value in the lexical stock of the language
(4) Their collocational
(5) Special language units and others.
first group includes the dictionaries of the following:
(b) technical terms - glossaries
(c) special professions, arts and crafts
(d) slangs, jargons and argot etc.
Dialect dictionaries: dialect dictionaries present all the characteristic of a
general dictionary in their description of the lexical units. But they deal with
the word stock of a particular geographical region or social group. The dictionaries
usually contain words not found in the standard language i.e. words which are
variations of the standard form, or words whose meanings are restricted to a particular
area or social group. The preparation of these dictionaries is generally associated
with dialect surveys. The entries are selected form the data collected on the
basis of extensive field work, preparation of linguistic atlases, recording of
all the regional variations of the lexical units etc.
are different methods of presentation. Sometimes one of the variants is selected
as the head word on the basis of standard, frequency and universality of the variant,
and all other variants are given in the entry. Such regional or social variations
are labeled suitably. The other information provided is regarding the grammatical
category, meaning and profuse examples illustrating the use of the lexical units.
some dictionaries all the lexical units are given as head words and their distribution
in different regions is shown. Examples are given form these regions. (Wright.
dictionary may either deal with only one dialect or may contain variations from
Under the dialect dictionaries may be included the dictionaries
of regionalisms. E.g. A Dictionary of Canadianisms.
The dictionary of technical terms6 deals with technical terms in a language. Terminology
is a major and vital part of the vocabulary of any language. These dictionaries
are generally prepared by special bodies and commissions formed specially for
the purpose. They contain either terms peculiar to a particular subject field
or general words with special meanings for special fields.
Closely related to the dictionaries of technical terms are those of different
professions, trades, crafts, sports etc. These dictionaries present words peculiar
to a particular professions e.g. Dictionary of fishing terms etc. Many dictionaries
of agriculture terms have been compiled in India, Grieson's Behar Peasant Life
is a good example of professional dictionary.
Not very far removed form these dictionaries are the dictionaries of slangs, jargons,
argot etc. These dictionaries contain closed set of words used by a particular
class of people. These words are either newly coined words or general words with
some new special and secret meaning attached to them. In both cases the secrecy
of the word is strictly maintained and is considered a taken of group solidarity.
Any violations in the norms results in the disowning of the person in the group.
Special dictionaries classified on the basis of the formal aspects of the lexical
units are of the following types:
(a) Spelling or orthographical dictionaries,
(b) Pronouncing dictionaries,
(c) Word formation dictionaries (including
dictionaries of roots, verbs etc.),
(d) Dictionaries of homonyms,
Dictionaries of paronyms,
(f) Grammatical dictionaries,
(g) Reverse dictionaries
(h) Dictionaries of abbreviations, acronyms etc.
Spelling or orthographical dictionaries give spelling of words with their phonetic
variants. They give tones, stress and accents also, wherever relevant. To this
group belong dictionaries which give information whether words would be written
together or separately. These dictionaries are normative in character and are
used as reference points for correct spelling. The general dictionaries are also
refereed for correct spelling, especially by the foreigners. But the orthographical
dictionaries differ from the general dictionaries in not giving any other information
Pronouncing dictionaries record contemporary pronunciation. They are also normative
and are referred to for correct pronunciation. The information supplied in these
dictionaries is different form the general dictionaries. They present variant
pronunciation as well as the pronunciation of grammatical forms.
formation or derivational dictionaries give different word forming elements viz.,
prefixes, suffixes etc. Some of the learner's dictionaries attain the nature of
word formation dictionaries is so for as they give lists of prefixes and suffixes.
To this class belong the dictionaries of roots, verbs etc. Whitney's Dictionary
of Sanskrit verb root belongs to this class. The Dhatupaha of Panini is a dictionary
of this group.
Dictionaries of homonyms present the homonyms of a language. Some of them give
Dictionaries of paronyms give paronyms in the language.
Grammatical dictionaries are prepared to serve as guide or help book for the understanding
of (correct) grammatical system of the language. This is more helpful, when the
grammatical system of the language is very difficult and complex. In a grammatical
dictionary, the whole grammatical structure of the language is given in the introduction.
The different grammatical categories and paradigms are numbered. These numbers
are given for gender, type of declension etc. These dictionaries are very useful
for teachers of the language.
In Reverse dictionaries the entry words are arranged in the alphabetical order
of their final letters. Their earlier counterparts are the Rhyming dictionaries
which were prepared as tools of aid for the poets for composing poems as rhyming
was very important for the purpose. The scope of these dictionaries has become
very wide at present. In these dictionaries words with similar endings appear
at one place which give a sort of grammatical specification. Indentical word forming
suffixes and indentical compound forming components are put at one place. These
are very useful for preparing teaching materials and manuals.
Dictionaries of abbreviations and acronyms: they present the abbreviations and
acronyms commonly used in a language. Many dictionaries give list of common abbreviations
The dictionaries classified on the basis of their semantic aspect and their relational
value in the lexical stock of the language are the following:
(b) Dictionary of antonyms,
(c) Ideographical or ideological
(d) Dictionary of frequency counts.
The dictionaries of synonyms give the list of synonyms (near synonyms to be more
specific). Sometimes this dictionary simply enumerates the different synonyms
of particular lexical items but sometimes they are accompanied by illustrative
examples of the occurrence of the synonyms. Needless to say that the second process
is more useful. These dictionaries help in finding the finer distinctions of meaning
of a particular lexical unit in terms of its relation to the other members of
the group. They are useful for the writers to find out a proper word in writing.
For learners these dictionaries are useful as they provide information on relation
languages have a rich tradition of the dictionaries of synonyms. Starting form
nighan?u, through Amarakosa, Halayudha and Hemacandra to the present times there
is long history of the compilation of dictionaries of synonyms in India. Most
of the Indian languages have a number of dictionaries of synonyms.
The dictionaries of antonyms give antonyms of a language and can be useful in
finding out finer sense distinctions of polysemous and synonymous words.
The Ideographic or ideological also called systemic dictionaries present words
which are semantically related. They are grouped according to concept words or
content words. "Lexical items in Ideographic Dictionaries are grouped into
families where each one of them stands for one particular psychological dimension"
(Srivastava 1968, 124). Dictionaries of synonyms are in one sense one of the sub-types
of Ideographical Dictionaries.
The dictionaries of frequency county presents the frequency of the lexical units
in a language. They usually represent a special corpus of reading material and
are useful for the preparation of children's dictionaries, learner's dictionaries,
teaching material etc.,
Special dictionaries classified on the basis of their collocational value are
Dictionaries of collocations: these dictionaries give usual collocations of the
lexical units. They give list of all the words that can be collocated with the
head word. But such dictionaries are usually limited in their scope and present
only words of a few grammatical categories viz. nouns, verbs and adjectives etc.
They are useful for language teaching.
b. Dictionaries of Usages: these dictionaries
generally aim at providing guidelines for the correct and standard use of words
and are normative in character.
Dictionaries of special lexical units are generally the following:
Dictionaries of phrases or phraseological dictionaries: these dictionaries present
the phraseological units of the language and are usually accompanied with illustrative
Dictionaries of proverbs and idioms: they deal with proverbs and idioms of a language.
Dictionaries of neologism: such dictionaries present new words introduced in the
language and the new meanings acquired by the existing words. They provide good
material for the revision of the dictionaries. The addenda given in some dictionaries
is very much nearer to this type of dictionaries.
Dictionaries of borrowed words: these dictionaries deal with words which are borrowed
in the language from time to time. These dictionaries, in a limited sense, come
under the class of etymological dictionaries.
dictionaries of this class are dictionaries of surname, toponyms, dictionary of
false friends, common vocabularies, etc.
types of Special Dictionaries: -
Exegetic dictionaries: they deal with the text of some author or many authors
and are prepared in different ways. A dictionary f this type may cover a particular
work of an author e.g. Padmaavata Kosa, of Jayasi, Maanasakosa of Tulasi, Dictionary
of the Autobiography of Gorky. Such dictionaries also cover all the works of a
particular author. e.g. Dictionary of Shakespeare, Tulasikosa, The Dictionary
of Pushkin etc.,
dictionary contains all the words available in the text or texts. All the meanings
of a lexical unit are given with illustrations and the actual places of their
occurrence. Sometimes the total number of the occurrences of the lexical unit
are also given to show the frequency of the lexical unit. In some dictionaries
only the first and the last occurrences are noted. They not only give the lexicographic
definitions but also encyclopaedic information and include proper names also.
These dictionaries provide guidance for understanding the special usages of the
lexical units by different authors. They also help in knowing the new words used
by writers as also the new meanings attached to the present lexical units. They
are useful in preparation of the historical dictionary of a language.
(2) Similar to exegetic dictionaries are what we call concordences wherein all
the occurrences of a particular lexical unit are quoted systematically by giving
the actual place of occurrence.
(3) Learner's Dictionaries: of late
this type of dictionary has been attracting the attention of the lexicographers
all over the world. These dictionaries are designed to act as an aid for the learners
of languages, both native and foreign, from various angles. These dictionaries
are broadly of two types: (1) dictionaries meant for the foreign learners, (2)
Dictionaries meant for native learners. Generally, but not exclusively, the name
is used for the first type of learners.
These dictionaries differ form
general dictionaries and word books for the native speakers. The difference lies
in the understanding of the problems and needs of the learners. An adult learner
of a foreign language might find the use of many very common and simple words
difficult. Many words for most commonly used things in daily life are not known
to the foreign learners. The native speaker does not face this problem because
although his word stock may be poor his language competence is quite sufficient.
The Compiler of learners' dictionary has the following two types of users:
(1) The native speakers, who although having command of the language, need
guidance about the correct usage of different words.
(2) The speaker of the
other language whose word-stock is limited and the language competence is very
weak. In this case the interference of the native language is kept in mind while
preparing the dictionaries.
chief characteristic features of the dictionaries marking them different from
other dictionaries are the following: -
(1) The vocabulary is very limited.
The selection of vocabulary items is very carefully done on different scientific
The emphasis is not on giving all the possible meanings of a lexical unit but
its function and usage in the language.
dictionaries may again be of different types depending upon the scope of the word
lists contained in them and the nature of information with each lexical item.
According to the scope of the word-list the dictionaries can be general and special.
The general dictionary contains all the general words to be used by the learner
of a language, e.g. Hornby's Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
the second type belong the dictionaries of selected lexical items presenting a
part of the total vocabulary, e.g. Dictionary of adjectives, verbs, nouns, etc.
for the nature of the information given in these dictionaries they may be of different
types, e.g. presenting semantic or syntactic or grammatical information and emphasizing
any of these aspects. Notable among them are the collocation dictionaries in different
dictionaries deal with the current and the common usage. Obsolete, archaic and
dialectal words are not included in them. These dictionaries do not give certain
derivatives which can be easily predictable. Variations in spelling and pronunciation
are avoided as far as possible. The entries are selected on the principle of frequency.
Usually more frequently used words are included in these dictionaries. The order
of meanings in the learner's dictionary is empiric. The primary meaning is given
first, the secondary meanings afterwards. The number of meanings is restricted
to only very important ones. All possible meanings are not given. The emphasis
is more on usage and collocations.
language of the definition is kept as simple as possible. For this common and
more familiar words are used for defining the words.
learner's dictionaries give illustrative examples for all types of collocations.
Illustrative pictures find greater place in the learner's dictionaries than general
the general dictionary, as stated earlier, covers
the total language. The dictionary of any size may be a general dictionary. It
contains words from all spheres of human activities and all areas of the life
of the speakers of the language.
general dictionaries are of two types:
(a) Academic or normative dictionary,
(b) Referential or overall descriptive dictionary.
academic dictionary gives the lexical stock of the standard language. The aim
of this dictionary is to present the language as it is expected to be and stop
it from decay. It has an eye on the future usage of the language. The selection
of entries is done from the works of the creative writers, may be both earlier
and contemporary, literature of science, arts etc., newspapers, magazines and
other materials which are considered representative of the standard language.
These dictionaries do not contain words of local or regional variation. Such words
are included in the dictionaries only when they have been used by some writers
and have been standardized in the language. Archaic and obsolete words used by
creative writers are also included in them. The whole data in the dictionary represents
a self contained and homogenous system. The chief feature of such dictionaries
is their inclusion of profuse illustrative examples form the corpus with or without
citations. Different types of dictionaries including dictionaries of technical
terms, grammatical dictionary, the spelling dictionary etc., come under this group.
referential or overall descriptive dictionary does not have any normative aim.
The word stock of this dictionary is selected from different heterogeneous speech
groups. The corpus includes not only literary texts but also oral literature.
It contains words of regional, social and stylistic variations.
to Shcherba a reference dictionary is "one behind which does not lie any
unified language consciousness. The collected words may belong to heterogeneous
speech groups of different periods and which do not in the least form a system'
(Srivastaba 1968. 120).
the point of view of coverage of languages dictionaries can be monolingual (or
explanatory), bilingual and multilingual. But any type of dictionary described
earlier can be either monolingual or bilingual.
a monolingual dictionary both the entry words and their definitions or meanings
are given in the same language. They may also be called explanatory dictionaries,
although the latter term has assumed a special signification. The term monolingual
refers to the language only irrespective of the information given in it. Some
dictionaries may just give word lists and their meanings and may be monolingual
dictionary. The explanatory dictionary, on the contrary, gives more information
about different aspects of the lexical unit-script, pronunciation, grammar, meaning,
etymology and profuse illustrations. These dictionaries are meant for the native
speakers and "the target set for creating Explanatory Dictionary aims at
native speakers with a view to explain one or the other lexical items which might
be half known or totally unknown to them" (Srivastava 1968. 124) Most of
the bigger dictionaries in all the well known languages are explanatory in nature.
a bilingual dictionary, the aim of which is to make a foreign speaker understand
the language, words of one language are explained or defined in another language
The Tamil word akaqraati, meaning in alphabetical order of a, aa etc. for dictionary,
is quite significant here.
Based on Malkiel 1967 with slight modification.
Whitney, W.D. ed. The Century Dictionary, the articles on encyclopaedia and encyclopaedic.
See An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Sanskrit p. XI for difficulties in the field.
This is the view of Shcherba (Srivastava 1968, 126).
Term: Any word or word group used to name a notion characteristic of some special
field of knowledge.
For details see chapter 8.