[Lexicog] English-Vernacular dictionaries?

Allan Johnson allan_johnson at SIL.ORG
Tue Feb 7 09:52:05 UTC 2006

from Allan Johnson, Philippines

One of our teams here is looking into doing an English-Vernacular dictionary
in order to meet a felt need of the people who speak that vernacular. This
isn't what we have typically done for minority languages here. Our
dictionaries have usually been Vernacular-English, with a simple reversal of
this being the only English-Vernacular dictionary that is done. A simple
reversal of course is not a "real" English-Vernacular dictionary. It
describes the lexicon of the English language only in a hit-and-miss sort of
way. It would take much editing to make it an adequate description of the
English lexicon with relevant sense distinctions and so on. But once a
dictionary of this kind has been done, it could be a valuable template for
English-Vernacular dictionaries of other languages.

Good English dictionaries *have* been done of course. A learner's dictionary
like some that have been done by Collins-Cobuild would probably be an ideal
template for an English-Vernacular dictionary. But I don't think we could
legally use a commercial dictionary in this way.

So that's where my question to you all comes in. Have any of you done an
English-Vernacular dictionary? Do any of you have an English lexical
database that could be made available to other language projects as a
starting point for other English-Vernacular dictionaries?

Allan J.

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