question about lexicography

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 4 02:13:23 UTC 2011

Here's a query from someone who seems not to know too much about the topic he's investigating, but it is a topic that I'm sure someone on the list can help me provide him with pointers on.

I am a third-year law student here and have recently begun researching for a paper regarding the use of dictionaries by judges in evaluating cases. ...One of the basic aspects I need to grasp is the very purpose and function of dictionaries as they have been written and are constructed today.  While I've noticed that there seems to be a divide between the fields of linguistics and lexicography, I was curious as to whether you might be able to meet with me to discuss some of these concepts.  If this is inconvenient, I would also be very grateful if you had any recommendations for basic works illustrating lexicography and/or the divide between linguistics and the construction of dictionaries (I believe that many legal scholars have conflated the two).

I can disabuse him of his (apparent) idea that there's an incompatibility between linguists and lexicographers, although to be sure the specific goals and enterprises of the two fields are different, without being incompatible.  (There's no divide between phonology and syntax either, I would think.)  But still, the "recommendations for basic works illustrating lexicography" if not the putative "divide" between linguistics and lexicography, can no doubt be fulfilled.  Any suggestions?  (Perhaps this has come up on the list, but I don't recall and can't locate the relevant posts.)


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