What is a Target Language in an Electronic Dictionary?

Authors: Anna Helga Hannesdóttir

In a printed bilingual dictionary, one of the languages acts as the source language and the other the target language. In an electronic dictionary, where both languages can be made equally accessible, the relationship between the two languages is much more complicated. This paper will discuss the consequences of this multiple access in bilingual lexicography. The focus will also be on the target language vocabulary, when it is made as accessible as the source language. The point of departure is the Swedish vocabulary presented in the multilingual online-only resource ISLEX, where Icelandic is the source language and Swedish one of the target languages. While the Icelandic vocabulary in ISLEX is carefully selected and representative of the Icelandic lexicon, the Swedish vocabulary consists of a rather arbitrary selection of the Swedish lexicon, revealing unfortunate equivalent lacunae, i.e. the absence of words of frequent occurrence and central to colloquial Swedish. Some implications of multiple access for the typology of bilingual dictionaries will be discussed.

Keywords: bilingual e-lexicography; multiple access; source/target language; equivalent lacunae; dictionary typology

Reference: In Kosem, I., Jakubiček, M., Kallas, J., Krek, S. (eds.) Electronic lexicography in the 21st century: linking lexical data in the digital age. Proceedings of the eLex 2015 conference, 11-13 August 2015, Herstmonceux Castle, United Kingdom. Ljubljana/Brighton: Trojina, Institute for Applied Slovene Studies/Lexical Computing Ltd., pp. 236-249.


Published: 2015