in Dictionaries

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199573790
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191777639 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions


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‘Identity’ makes the point that dictionaries are popularly seen in terms of constraint and regulation, defending rather than describing the language. Instead, they profoundly engage with how we understand the world and articulate the nature of what we perceive. They document the changes in such perceptions, and in the expressions we may come to use. While dictionaries must provide information on ‘correct’ rather than ‘incorrect’ forms, it is in descriptive rather than prescriptive correctness that the evidence in modern dictionaries resides. Dictionaries are far from uniform. Size, language, and intended audience all bring diversity, as does the medium itself — book, CD-ROM, online, or app.

Keywords: audience; dictionaries; identity; language; medium

Chapter.  4921 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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