[Lexicog] Re: English-Vernacular dictionaries?

meijg gerardm at MYREALBOX.COM
Wed Feb 8 12:44:38 UTC 2006

For your information, there are several databases with lexical
information that are not licensed with a proprietary license. They
have advantages and disadvantages depending on your outlook. Starting
a new lexicon with a proprietary license is prohibitively expensive
either in upfront cost or in cost when you lose a copyright fight, a
fight which is too expensive in its own right. A lexicon with an open
or free license allows you to use material that already exists, the
only potential downside is, is that you cannot copyright it with a
proprietary license once you have added your work to it. The only way
to circumvent both these issues is to start with a version of a
dictionary that is older than 70 years. Such a dictionary has lost its
copyright "protection" and passed into the public domain. There are
several big name dictionaries with versions that are currently public

These old versions have one big problem; they do not reflect the
changes that happened in a language over the decades that have passed.


--- In lexicographylist at yahoogroups.com, "Allan Johnson"
<allan_johnson at ...> wrote:
> from Allan Johnson, Philippines
> One of our teams here is looking into doing an English-Vernacular
> 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
> 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
> 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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