Using the BNC

Jonathon Green slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK
Mon Dec 16 15:43:15 UTC 2002

>Traditionally, I suppose the main utility of page numbers was to allow
>others to verify the existence and veracity of quotations without having to
>wade through tens or hundreds of thousands of irrelevant words.

My desire for page numbers is indeed, albeit in part, for the purpose of
obtaining citations without ploughing through much extraneous matter.

>But if you're working with an electronic corpus, what's the point of page
>numbers?  Anyone who wants to verify your claims can pull the word or
>phrase in question up in a matter of seconds.

As to the need for such references, they remain vital for 'historical'
lexicography, e.g. the OED, DARE, Jonathan Lighter's slang dictionary and my
own work in progress. The extent to which readers/users, even fellow
lexicographers, actually check them, is debatable, but the current style of
citation as included in this type of dictionary still requires their
appearance. Thus, if one is drawing on a corpus such as the BNC, such
references would be useful.

Jonathon Green

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