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The lexicographic practice was established during a pretheoretical era with the first dictionaries responding to the real needs of real users and not to criteria laid down by theoretical lexicographers. Different types of dictionaries emerged due to the varying needs of a wide variety of potential dictionary users. Throughout the early development of lexicographic practice the work was dominated by a user-driven approach, resulting in dictionaries being compiled to serve as utility instruments. During the first phases of the development of theoretical lexicography much attention was focussed on typological models and to criteria relevant for each dictionary category within the relevant typological model. Unfortunately this often led to dictionaries being compiled according to typological criteria instead of being a response to user needs. This paper focuses on various aspects of the existing typological classifications and on situating these classifications within the context of a general theory of lexicography. Utilising the results of the more recent emphasis on lexicographic functions it is maintained that a less rigid approach is necessary in the classification of dictionaries. Typological classification should rather be done according to lexicographic functions and not only according to established models. A brief discussion of the development of lexicographic theory indicates a shift from a linguisticbased approach to an approach characterised by its emphasis on dictionary structures and eventually to an approach that introduced lexicographic functions. It is shown that the typological classification is still largely dominated by a linguistic bias. Various aspects of the traditional typological classification are discussed, including the proposal from theoretical lexicographers that dictionary classes should not be regarded as isolated compartments. Allowance should be made for an interaction between the different classes with dictionaries displaying features from more than one typological category. The focus in this discussion is on the call to introduce lexicographic functions as a determining factor in the classification of dictionaries. An introduction to some aspects of lexicographic functions is followed by a closer look at different user situations and different user types. The needs and reference skills of a well-identified target user group should determine the functions of any dictionary. These user-based functions should then determine the nature of the dictionary type. Although changes are proposed for the current typological classification, it is not suggested that all existing typological categories should be abandoned or altered. In many cases the same classification should be maintained. It is suggested that a stronger functional approach should lead to the introduction of more unambiguous subtitles, explicating the function of a given dictionary, e.g. Helping with the reading/ writing/ translation of a text. What is regarded as extremely important is that dictionaries should no longer be compiled to obey the criteria of a typological category, isolated from the real situation of dictionary use, and that dictionaries should respond to the needs of users and should realise different communication and cognitive functions. A functional integration of typological features will reflect the needs of the target users rather than the formal criteria of a given typological classification in the planning, compilation and eventual classification of a dictionary. Copyright © 2007 NISC Pty Ltd.