Patrick Hanks

in The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276349
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics


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  • Linguistics
  • Lexicography
  • Computational Linguistics



This article provides an overview of computational lexicography in two senses, namely, the function of the lexicon in computer programs; and then the use of computational techniques in compiling new dictionaries. It begins with the historical background of lexicography and further discusses the particular challenges of using human dictionaries for computational purposes. It examines the ways in which computational techniques have changed the task of compiling new dictionaries. A serious problem for computer applications is that dictionaries compiled for human users focus on giving lists of meanings for each entry, without saying much about how one meaning may be distinguished from another in text. Thus, this article outlines the links between meaning and use. Finally, it presents the need for future directions in computational lexicography.

Keywords: computational lexicography; new dictionaries; meaning; computational techniques; human users

Article.  8608 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Lexicography ; Computational Linguistics

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