The access structure in learner's dictionaries

Steyn M. (2004)


Dictionaries have to be compiled in accordance with specific target users and dictionary goals. User orientation is, however, not the only criterion for measuring the success of a dictionary. Present-day lexicography requires the evaluation of the accessibility of dictionaries. The ease with which macro- and microstructural information is located and retrieved determines the quality and accessibility of the presentation. User-orientated, accessible learner's dictionaries can contribute substantially to the improvement of communication in a multilingual South Africa with different groups of language learners. Metalexicography makes provision for guide structures that facilitate access to information in the dictionary. The outer, inner and meta-access structure are functional structure elements that increase the retrievability of information and help the user to reach, as swiftly as possible, the information he/she is looking for. During the planning of a learner's dictionary, the lexicographer must draw up, among others, a dictionary plan in which a detailed explanation of the outer and inner access structure is given. Such a dictionary plan contributes to a consistent application of lexicographical decisions. Decisions regarding the access structure must also be explained and illustrated in the front text in order to enable learners to acquire dictionary skills and become effective dictionary users.

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