[Lexicog] English-Vernacular dictionaries?

Andrew Dalby akdalby at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 7 20:30:15 UTC 2006

I'm not a copyright expert but as a former reference librarian, and a
consultant to dictionary publishers, I have had some experience of it.
Essentially, Allan is right to be careful. It is fairly easy to tell
whether someone has achieved a series of definitions with or without
cribbing them from an existing dictionary, and such work is definitely
copyright and is likely to be protected fiercely.

You may know that reference book compilers often include a dummy entry
(e.g. a word that doesn't really exist) in order to trap plagiarizers.
 Some years ago now, the publishers of a certain annual bibliography
went out of business as a result of a lawsuit because they had fallen
for this trap. But, even without such tricks, copying is often easy to

I agree, finally, that a public-domain skeleton of an
English-to-vernacular dictionary would be a very useful resource for
publishers of minority language dictionaries!

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