Lexicography as a science of dictionary-making

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Kolomna State Teacher-Training Institute

Report on the course:

Introduction to the Contemporary English Philology

Theme: Lexicography as a science of dictionary-making


Gavrilin M

Year 1 Term 2

Faculty of foreign languages

Group 11/2

Teacher of a foreign language:

Akhrenova N.A.





1. Lexicography as a science

2. Dictionary: notion, functions, classification, components

3. The characteristics of Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners


List of used literature


It’s well known that we can’t imagine studying any language in the world without such an important thing as a dictionary. It’s obvious that it plays the most leading role in studying a language. But there’s such a problem as what kind of a dictionary we must choose to improve our speech skills day by day.

This report is devoted to the lexicography as a science of dictionary-making. The pursuit of lexicography is divided into two related disciplines:

Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries.

Theoretical lexicography is the scholarly discipline of analyzing and describing the semantic relationships within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language and developing theories of dictionary components and structures linking the data in dictionaries. This is sometimes referred to as met lexicography.

A person devoted to lexicography is called a lexicographer, famously defined in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) as «A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words».

General lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of general dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that provide a description of the language in general use. Such a dictionary is usually called a general dictionary or LGP dictionary. Specialized lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of specialized dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that are devoted to a (relatively restricted) set of linguistic and factual elements of one or more specialist subject fields, e.g. legal lexicography. Such a dictionary is usually called a specialized dictionary or LSP dictionary.

There is some disagreement on the definition of lexicology, as distinct from lexicography. Some use «lexicology» as a synonym for theoretical lexicography; others use it to mean a branch of linguistics pertaining to the inventory of words in a particular language.

It is now widely accepted that lexicography is a scholarly discipline in its own right and not a sub-branch of linguistics.

The theme of the report is actual because any pupil, student and even experienced teacher whose activity is closely connected with studying or teaching a language constantly needs a good dictionary which can always help at any time.

So the object of the investigation is lexicography as a science. The subject of investigation is dictionary-making itself.

There’re the following aims of the investigation: to show the importance of dictionary-making in modern linguistics, to study the history of lexicography and its modern development, to make out the dictionary its notion, functions, classification and components, to characterize the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners as an example of a dictionary of good quality.

1. Lexicography as a science

The theory and practice of compiling dictionaries is called lexicography.

In other words it is the art and craft of writing dictionaries.

The Erya, from the early 3rd century BC, was the first Chinese language dictionary. The book organized Chinese characters by semantic groups. The intention of this dictionary was to explain the true meaning and interpretation of words in the context of older ancient texts.

One of the earliest dictionaries known, and which is still extant today in an abridged form, was written in Latin during the reign of the emperor Augustus. It is known by the title De Significatu Verborum («On the meaning of words») and was originally compiled by Verrius Flaccus. It was twice abridged in succeeding centuries, first by Sextus Pompeius Festus, and then by Paul the Deacon. Verrius Flaccus' dictionary was an abridged list of difficult or antiquated words, whose usage was illustrated by quotations from early Roman authors.

The word «dictionary» comes from neoclassical Latin, dictio, meaning simply «word».

The history of compiling dictionaries for English comes as far back as The Old English period, where we can find glosses of religious books. Regular bilingual dictionaries began to appear in the 15th century. These dictionaries were Anglo-Latin, Anglo-German, Anglo-French.

The first true English dictionary was Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabetical of 1604, although it only included 3,000 words and the definitions it contained were little more than synonyms. The first one to be at all comprehensive was Thomas Blount’s dictionary Glossographia of 1656.

In 1721 an English scientist and writer Nathaniel Bailey published the 1st etymological dictionary which explained the origin of English words. It was called Universal Etymological English Dictionary. Bailey’s entries are fuller, compared with the glosses in the hard-word books, and there’re more of them (as many as 60, 000 in the 1736 edition), but his definitions lack illustrative support, and he gives little guidance about usage.

The history of lexicography is dominated by the names of 3 figures: Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster and James A. H. Murray. The role played by the first two in the Early Modern English period of the language was very significant. Their influence continues today — directly, in the case of Webster, through the series of dictionaries which bear his name; and indirectly, in the case of Johnson, through the tradition which led the Philological Society to sponsor a «new» English dictionary.

In 1755 an English scientist Samuel Johnson compiled a famous explanatory dictionary which was called A Dictionary of the English language. Over a seven-year period, Johnson wrote the definitions of 40,000 words, illustrating their use from the best authors since the time of the Elizabethans. Although Johnson was fewer entries than Bailey, his selection is more wide-ranging, and his lexicological treatment is far more discriminating and sophisticated.

The book, according to his biographer Boswell, «conferred stability» on the language — and at least with respect to spelling (where most of Johnson’s choices are found in modern practice). The alphabetical section of Johnson’s Dictionary is preceded by a famous Preface in which he outlines his aims and procedures:

When I took the 1st survey of my undertaking, I found our speech copious without order, and energetic without rules: wherever I turned my view, there was perplexity to be disentangled, and confusion to be regulated… Having therefore no assistance but from general grammar, I applied myself to the perusal of our writers; and noting whatever might be of use to ascertain or illustrate any word or phrase, accumulated in time the materials of a dictionary, which, by degrees, I reduced to method…

The preliminaries also include a short history of the language, with long extracts from earlier authors, and a grammar, much influenced by the work of John Wallis, with sections on orthography and prosody. But it is in the Preface, often anthologized as an independent text, that we find an unprecedented statement of the theoretical basis of a dictionary project. The statement is notable for its awareness of the realities of the lexicographer’s task, and also for its descriptive intention — an interesting change of opinion from the prescriptive attitudes Johnson expressed in his 1747 Dictionary plan. There he had written: «The chief intent is to preserve the purity and ascertain the meaning of our English idiom». The Preface, by contrast, stresses that his aim is «not form, but register the language»; and it is this principle which introduces a new era in Lexicography.

The Johnsonian Method.

This page illustrates several features of the approach Johnson outlines in his Preface:

1. Most of the definitions are appropriate and consistent between entries;

2. He plays special attention to the different senses of a word — five, in the case of eternal;

3. There’s a copious use of quotations to support a definition — 116,000 in all;

4. He routinely identifies parts of speech;

5. He shows the most strongly stressed syllable in a headword by an accent;

6. There’s an openness of approach;

7. He includes topical explanations of some words;

8. A wide range of ordinary words are included alongside technical terms;

9. It includes, in the «hard-words» tradition, many cumbersome Latinate forms, such as cubicula, estuation, whose status within English was doubtful;

10. His creations are highly selective, chosen more for their literary or moral value than for their linguistic clarity;

11. Several of his definitions use difficult words, such as reciprocates in estuary;

12. Several of his definitions have become famous for their subjectivity.

Some Johnsonian Definitions.

There’re not many truly idiosyncratic definitions in the Dictionary, but some have become famous.

LEXICOGRAPHER — a writer of dictionary, a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.

EXCISE — a hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.

OATS — a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.

PATRON — one, who countenances, supports or protects.

PENSION — an allowance made to anyone without an equivalent. In England it’s generally understood to mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country.

His definitions sometimes got him into trouble. He was threatened with libel over excise, and much lampooned over pension.

So Johnson’s Dictionary was the first attempt at a truly principled lexicography. It portrayed the complexity of the lexicon and of English usage more accurately than ever before; and his quotations initiated a practice which has informed English dictionaries ever since. The dictionary influenced normalization of the English vocabulary but at the same time it helped to preserve the English spelling in its conservative form.

In 1857 the Philological Society of Great Britain, noting the inadequacies of the English dictionaries then available, adopted the decision to compile a dictionary including all the words existing in the language from Anglo-Saxon times.

Twenty six years later in 1884 the first volume was published; it contained words ginning with A and B. The editor of this dictionary was James A. H. Murray. The aim was to produce a 4-volume work in a period of 10 years; but after 5 years, Murray and his colleagues had managed to complete only the section A-ANT; it was 352 pages, and sold for 62 Ѕ p in modern money. It was evident that the dictionary was a much greater work than had been envisaged. Additional editors were appointed and the last volume was published in 1928, the dictionary was called NED (New English Dictionary). It contained 12 volumes, comprising 15,487 pages and covering 414,825 lexical items.

In 1933 the dictionary was republished under the title «The Oxford English Dictionary» because the work on this dictionary was conducted at Oxford. The dictionary contained 13 volumes. Work on the dictionary recommended in1957, with the appointment of R.W. Burchfield to edit a new supplement. This appeared in 4 volumes between 1972 and 1986, and included the content of the 1933 work: it added 5,732 pages to the dictionary, and nearly 70,000 further lexical items.

As it was large and very expensive scientists continued their work and made shorter editions of the dictionary. The shorter Oxford dictionary contained the same number of entries but far less examples from literature. They also compiled a Concise Oxford Dictionary. It contained only one volume and no examples at all.

American lexicography began to develop much later at the end of the 18th century. The most famous American dictionary was compiled by Noah Webster. In 1828 he published a two volume dictionary (70,000 words), which was called American Dictionary of the English language. He tried to simplify English spelling and transcription. The work greatly improved the coverage of scientific and technical terms, as well as terms to do with American culture and institutions and added a great deal of encyclopedic information. A new feature was the introduction of Webster’s own etymologies — though the speculative nature of many of these was an early source of unwelcome criticism. The spellings were somewhat more conservative than those used in the 1806 book. Its pronunciations were generally provincial in character — those of Webster’s own New England. The label «American» in the title is more a reflection of the works of American authors referred to than of its uniquely American lexicon. Indeed, at one point Webster observed that «there were not 50 words in all which were used in America and not in England». On the other hand, nearly half of the words he did include are not to be found in Johnson’s Dictionary, which added considerable force to his claim that he was giving lexicography a fresh direction.

Despite its weaknesses and its critics, the American Dictionary made Webster a household name in the USA. It was fiercely attacked in Britain for its Americanism especially in matters of spelling and usage; but the work was crucial in giving to US English an identity and status comparable to that given to the British English lexicon by Dr Johnson.

Indeed, it’s difficult to appreciate today the impact which Webster’s Dictionary made at the time, and just how authoritative the book was perceived to be. After Webster’s death (1843), the rights were purchased by George and Charles Merriam, and later editions have appeared under the name of Merriam-Webster. A revision in 1847 was edited by Webster’s son-in-law, Chauncey A. Goodrich. Several dictionaries within this tradition appeared in the following decades, via the Webster’s International Dictionary of 1890 to the Webster’s New International Dictionary of 1909, with a second edition in 1934. The 3rd edition appeared in 1961, edited by Philip B. Gove, based on a collection of over 6 million citations of usage, and dealing with over 450,000 words. This edition prepared over a 10-year period, took up 757 editor-years, and proved to be highly controversial. Three supplements later appeared — of 6,000 words (1976), 89,000 words (1983), and 12,000 words (1986), and a CD is also available. Outside of this tradition, many other publishers have come to use the «Webster» name for their dictionaries and word-books.

The largest dictionary in the world is «het Woordenboek der Nederlansche Taal (WNT)» (the Dictionary of the Dutch language). It took 134 years to create the dictionary (1864 — 1998). It consists of approximately 400,000 words on 45 805 pages in 92 000 columns.

A Brief History of English Lexicography

(1) Latin and French Glossaries


Author /Editor


Size /Type



Storehouse [of words] for children or clerics




Printing in England




French-English Glossary





«hard words»


Hortus Vocabularum

Garden of Words



John Withals

A Short Dictionary for Yong Beginners



Sir Thomas Elyot

Dictionary (Bibliotheca Eliotae)



Thomas Cooper

Thesaurus of the Roman Tongue and the British


(2) Early English Dictionaries: The Seventeenth Century


Author /Editor


Size /Type


Richard Huloet

Abecedarium Anglo-Latinum



Richard Mulcaster


8,000 words


Thomas Thomas

Dictionarium Linguae Latinae et Anglicanae



John Florio

A World of Words



Robert Cawdrey

A Table Alphabetical

2,500 words


John Bullokar

An English Expositor

5,000 words


Henry Cockeram

The English Dictionary

3 parts


Thomas Blount



Edward Phillips

The New World of English Words


Thomas Blount

A World of Errors Discovered in the New World of Words


Elisha Coles

An English Dictionary

25,000 words

(3) The Beginning of Modern Dictionary Practice: The Eighteenth Century


Author /Editor


Size /Type


John Kersey

A New English Dictionary

28,000 words


John Harris

An Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences


John Kersey

Philips’s New World of English Words

38,000 words


Nathan Bailey

An Universal Etymological English Dictionary

40,000 words


Nathan Bailey

An Universal Etymological English Dictionary Volume II

2 parts


Ephraim Chambers

An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences


Nathan Bailey

Dictionarium Britannicum

48,000 words


Samuel Johnson

Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language


Benjamin Martin

Lingua Britannica Reformata


Samuel Johnson

A New Universal English Dictionary

40,000 words

(4) Dictionaries of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries


Author /Editor



James Buchanan

Linguae Britannicae


William Johnston

Pronouncing and Spelling Dictionary


John Entick

Spelling Dictionary


William Kenrick

A New Dictionary of the English Language


Thomas Sheridan

A General Dictionary of the English Language


Noah Webster

The American Spelling Book


John Walker

Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language


Henry Todd

Johnson’s Dictionary


Albert Chalmers

Todd-Johnson with Walker’s Pronunciations


Joseph E. Worcester

Chalmers’s Dictionary


Noah Webster

An American Dictionary of the English Language


Joseph Worcester

Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary of the English Language


Charles Richardson

A New Dictionary of the English Language (cf. OED)


Noah Webster

An American Dictionary of the English Language new edition


Joseph Worcester

Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language


Richard Chenevix Trench

Some Deficiencies in Our English Dictionaries (cf. OED)


Joseph Worcester

A Dictionary of the English Language


Noah Porter

A Dictionary of the English Language


Charles Annandale

The Century Dictionary


George and Charles Merriam

International Dictionary


Funk & Wagnalls

Standard Dictionary of the English Language

(5) Dictionaries of the 20th Century


Author /Editor



George and Charles Merriam

International Dictionary


Funk & Wagnalls

New Standard Dictionary of the English Language


The New Century Dictionary


Oxford English Dictionary


Webster’s New International Dictionary


Irving Lorge & Edward Thorndike

A Semantic Count of English Words


American College Dictionary


Funk & Wagnalls

New College Standard


David Guralnik & Joseph Friend

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language


Philip Babcock Gove

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary


Philip Babcock Gove

Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary


Random House

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language


Random House

Random House Dictionary, College Edition (Random House College Dictionary)


American Heritage Dictionary


Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary


Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

2. Dictionary: notion, functions, classification, components

If we speak about the dictionary as a linguistic term, it is a list of words with their definitions, a list of characters, or a list of words with corresponding words in other languages. Many dictionaries also provide pronunciation information; grammatical information; word derivations, histories, or etymologies; illustrations; usage guidance; and examples in phrases or sentences. Dictionaries are most commonly found in the form of a book, but more and more dictionaries are produced as software runs from electronic PDA or a general purpose computer. Most dictionaries are produced by lexicographers.

Since words and their meanings develop over time, dictionary entries are organized to reflect these changes. Dictionaries may either list meanings in the historical order in which they appeared, or may list meanings in order of popularity and most common use.

Dictionaries also differ in the degree to which they are encyclopedic, providing considerable background information, illustrations, and the like, or linguistic, concentrating on etymology, nuances of meaning, and quotations demonstrating usage.

Any dictionary has been designed to fulfill one or more functions. The dictionary functions chosen by the maker (s) of the dictionary provide the basis for all lexicographic decisions, from the selection of entry words, over the choice of information types, to the choice of place for the information (e.g. in an article or in an appendix). There are two main types of function. The communication-oriented functions comprise text reception (understanding), text production, text revision, and translation. The knowledge-oriented functions deal with situations where the dictionary is used for acquiring specific knowledge about a particular matter, and for acquiring general knowledge about something. The optimal dictionary is one that contains information directly relevant for the needs of the users relating to one or more of these functions. It is important that the information is presented in a way that keeps the lexicographic information costs at a minimum.

All dictionaries are divided into linguistic and encyclopedic.

Encyclopedic dictionaries describe different objects, phenomena and people and give some information about them.

Linguistic dictionaries describe vocabulary units, their semantic structure, their origin and their usage; words are usually given in the alphabetical order.

Linguistic dictionaries are divided into general and specialized dictionaries.

General dictionaries include explanatory (monolingual) and translation (bilingual) dictionaries.

In explanatory (monolingual) dictionaries the entry consists of the spelling, transcription, grammatical forms, meanings, examples, phraseology.

Translation (bilingual) dictionaries give words and their equivalents in the other language.

Specialized dictionaries include dictionaries of synonyms, antonyms, collocations, word frequency, slang, neologisms; etymological, pronouncing, phraseological and other dictionaries.

Specialized dictionaries (also technical dictionaries) focus on linguistic and factual matters relating to specific subject fields. A specialized dictionary may have a relatively broad coverage, e.g. a picture dictionary, in that it covers several subject fields such as science and technology (a multi-field dictionary), or their coverage may be more narrow, in that they cover one particular subject field such as law (a single-field dictionary) or even a specific sub-field such as contract law (a sub-field dictionary). Specialized dictionaries may be maximizing dictionaries, i.e. they attempt to achieve comprehensive coverage of the terms in the subject field concerned, or they may be minimizing dictionaries, i.e. they attempt to cover only a limited number of the specialized vocabulary concerned. Generally, multi-field dictionaries tend to be minimizing, whereas single-field and sub-field dictionaries tend to be maximizing.

Phraseological dictionaries describe idioms, colloquial phrases and proverbs. Some of them have examples from literature.

Etymological dictionaries trace present-day words to the oldest forms of these words and forms of these words in other languages.

Pronouncing dictionaries record only pronunciation.

Dictionaries of neologisms contain newly appearing words.

Anybody learning a foreign language knows the value of a good dictionary.

We all know how useful a bilingual dictionary can be in providing a quick translation for something when we don’t know a simple concrete word which translates easily. On the other hand a good well-organized monolingual dictionary can help a lot.

Let’s begin by looking at meaning. You know that one word can have a whole range of different meanings, some of them very similar to each other and some completely different. Which definition should you choose? Well, the first way in which a dictionary can help is by listing meanings so that the most common or frequent comes first, and at least common comes last. A good dictionary will also provide example sentences for each of the different meanings; it can solve a lot of problems if you can see how the word is actually used in a sentence.

The example sentence should also help with understanding the way the word combines with other words in a sentence. For example, you can’t really use a verb unless you know that it should be followed by a gerund or an infinitive or «that» clause or whatever.

Another important thing is the use of certain preposition after some adjectives which a dictionary will prompt to you. Besides, dictionaries give examples of common compounds and phrases which include the word you’ve looked up.

The example sentences can give you quite a lot of information about the grammar of the word you’re interested in; but it isn’t the only way in which a dictionary provides grammatical information. A dictionary will indicate to what word class a word belongs. A well-thought-out dictionary will also have a system of abbreviations or symbols to tell you, for example, whether a noun is countable, whether a verb is transitive or intransitive and so on. You won’t be able to use a word correctly in a sentence unless you know the answers to such questions.

English is famous for its unpredictable spellings and a dictionary is obviously going to be very useful here. A dictionary will tell you whether this spelling is British or American. You can even find out whether a verb has an irregular past tense or whether an adjective has an irregular comparative form.

The phonetic alphabet is used in dictionaries to tell you about the pronunciation of a word, and a special indication will help you get the stress in the right place.

List of major English dictionaries:

The Penguin English Dictionary

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (descriptive)

Random House Dictionary of the English Language

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Webster’s New World Dictionary

Oxford English Dictionary (descriptive)

Concise Oxford Dictionary

New Oxford Dictionary of English

New Oxford American Dictionary

Canadian Oxford Dictionary

ITP Nelson Canadian Dictionary

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (prescriptive)

Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (prescriptive)

The Century Dictionary

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Macquarie Dictionary, The, a dictionary of Australian English

Chambers Dictionary


Collins English Dictionary

Gage Canadian Dictionary

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

Black’s Law Dictionary, a law dictionary

3. The characteristics of Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners

The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners was conceived, compiled and edited by the Reference and Electronic Media Division of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Managing editor is Michael Mayor. The Dictionary was printed and bound in Malaysia in 2002.

The Dictionary includes words on the basis of their use in the language today. Some words are identified as being trademarks or service marks. Neither the presence nor absence of such identification in this Dictionary is to be regarded as affecting in any way, or expressing a judgement on, the validity or legal status of any trademark, service mark, or other proprietary rights anywhere in the world.

The definitions in the Macmillan English Dictionary have been based on information derived from 200 million words of English which make up the World English Corpus.

The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners is a linguistic dictionary because it describes vocabulary units, their semantic structure, their origin and their usage; words are given in the alphabetical order.

It is a general, explanatory (monolingual) dictionary. The entry consists of the spelling, transcription, grammatical forms, meanings, examples, phraseology.

As for the components or the structure of this Dictionary it’s the following:

Some words have more than

acid1 / / noun **

one entry because they belong

1[С/U] a chemical substance with

to a different word class al

a PH value (= a measure used in chem-

although they are spelt the same.

istry) of less than 7: hydrochloric acid

The small number at the end of

— compare ALKALI

the headword tells you that

2 [U] informal the illegal drug LSD

there’s more than one entry for

this word.

acid2 / / adj 1 very sour:

ACIDIC: Add more sugar if it tastes

too acid. 2 containing acid or consist

ing of an acid: ACIDIC: These plants

prefer an acid soil. 3 an acid remark

or acid humour shows criticism in a

way that is clever but cruel: ACERBIC.

Compound words are separate

'acidНhouse noun [U] a style of

entries in the alphabetical list.

HOUSE music that developed in the

US in the mid-1980s and became very

popular in the UK in the late 1980s

where it was played at RAVE parties

Some words are shown at the

acidify / / verb [I/T] to be —

end of the entry for the word

come an acid, or cause a substance to

from which they are derived.

become an acid — acidification

/ / noun [U]

Some words are used in idioms

bat your eyes/eyelashes to open and

or other fixed expressions.

close your eyes very quickly several

These expressions are shown at

times, intending to be attractive to

the end of the main entry.


go to bat for smb mainly Am E in —

formal to give someone your support

and help

not bat an eyelid to not be shocked,

worried, or upset by something

Phrasal verbs are shown after

bat a’round phrasal vb [T] to dis —

the entry for the main verb.

cuss ideas or plans in an informal way

Many words have more than

dolly / / noun [C] 1 informal a

one meaning. When meanings

DOLL 2 a flat structure with wheels

are very different, they are

for moving heavy loads or for sup —

shown as separate senses with

porting a film camera > CORN



Some words have many differ —

bleed / / (past tense and past par —

ent meanings, and so the en —

ticiple bled / /) verb *

tries can be long. Entries with

1 when blood flows out

five or more meanings have a

2 make smb pay money

`menu' at the top.

3 when colour spreads

4 take liquid/ gas from smth

5 take blood from smb

The International Phonetic Al —

commerce / / noun [U] **

phabet shows how a word is

the activity of buying and selling


goods and services: TRADE: the needs

of industry and commerce

When British and American pro —

basil /; Am E / noun [U]

nunciations are very different,

a plant whose sweet leaves are used in

both are given.

salads and cooking, especially in

dishes containing tomato. Basil is a


Stress marks tell us which part

'cabin Нcrew noun [C] the people on a

of a compound to stress when we

plane whose job is to look after the pas —

are saying it.


Irregular inflections are shown.

do1 / / (3rd person singular does / weak

; strong /; past tense

did / /; past participle done / /

verb ***

Some words are printed in red

convince / / verb [T] ***

with a star rating to show their

1 to make someone believe that some —

frequency. For example, a word

thing is true

with one star is fairly common

and a word with three stars is one

blank1 / / adj **

of the most basic words in Eng —

1 blank paper or a blank space is empty


and contains

embarrass / / verb [T] *

1 to make someone feel nervous,

ashamed, or stupid

Italic words (called `labels') show

bus1 / / noun [C] ***

which part of the English-speaking

1 a large road vehicle with a lot of seats

world is used in, or tell us whether

that you pay to travel on, especially one

it is used in informal contexts,

that takes you fairly short distances and

specialized contexts etc.

stops frequently: by bus The children go

to school by bus. miss the bus If we

don’t leave soon, we’ll miss the last bus.

1a mainly Am E A COACH

2 computing a set of wires that send in

formation from one part of a computer

system to another

Sometimes a word that is used

aubergine / / noun [C/U] Br

only in British English has an ex —

E a vegetable with a smooth dark purple

act equivalent in American Eng —

skin and white flesh. Am E eggplant

lish. These equivalents are shown

at the end of a definition.

Example sentences in italic

basis / / (plural bases / /)

show us how a word is used in

noun [C] ***


1 a particular method or system for doing

or organizing something: on a … basis

workers who are employed on a seasonal

or temporary basis.

Information about collocation —

on the basis of smth Don’t make your

how words combine and which

decision on the basis of cost alone.

structures can be used with a word.

When a word has many collocations,

Words frequently used with basis

these are shown in a box at the end

verbs: constitute, create, establish, form,

of the entry.

lay, provide, serve as

There’s information about the use

Both above and over can be used to

of a word in practice.

mean `at a higher level than something':

the light above/over the door.

Use above when something is not di —

rectly over something else: on the hillside

above the river.

Use over when something moves or

stretches across the space above some —

thing: flying over London, the bridge

over the river.

There’re hints which help us to avoid

If you take something that someone of —

common errors.

fers you or if you allow something to

happen, you accept it: We accepted her

offer of help.

If you say that you are willing to do

something, you agree to do it: She

agreed to work at the weekend.

You accept something, but you agree to

do something.

There’re notes that tell us about the

Cinderella / / noun [C

origin of a word.

usually singular]

1 someone or something that has good

qualities but is treated badly or ignored:

Primary education has long been the

Cinderella of the education service.

Cinderella is the main character in a fa —

mous children’s story. She is a poor girl,

badly treated by her stepsisters but, in the

end, thanks to the power of magic, she is

able to marry the rich attractive Prince


There’re definitions which introduce

address1 / / noun [C] ***

us to related words.

1 the name of the place where you live

or work, including the house or office

number and the name of the street, area,

and town. It may also include a set of

numbers and letters, called a postcode in

British English and a zip code in Ameri —

can English.

Sometimes the opposite of a word

obedient / / adj *doing what a

is shown.

person, law, or rule says you must do:

The children stood in a little group, dis —

ciplined and obedient. — opposite


Some definitions give us synonyms.

booking / / noun [C] **

1 an arrangement to buy a travel ticket,

stay in a hotel room etc at a later date:

RESERVATION: Holiday bookings are up

20% on last year.

Except of all the components of this Dictionary we can also single out such elements as: Language Awareness (the information about numbers, phrasal verbs, Academic English, metaphor, computer words, pragmatics, spoken discourse, sensitivity, British and American English, Business English and word formation) and different illustrations on various topics: House, Kitchen, Office, Clothes and patterns, Motorway and Types of vehicle, Transport, Car, Trees, plants and flowers, Fruit, Vegetables, Animals, Sports, Gym and Games.


In this work we succeeded in achievement of all the aims that we had had at the beginning of our investigation: to study the history of lexicography and its modern development, to make out the dictionary its notion, functions, classification and components, to characterize the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners as an example of a dictionary of good quality. So we proved the importance of dictionary-making in modern linguistics.

So General lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of general dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that provide a description of the language in general use. In other words it is the art and craft of writing dictionaries.

So we can’t imagine our studying or work without lexicography because any pupil, student and even experienced teacher whose activity is closely connected with studying or teaching a language constantly needs a good dictionary which can always help at any time.

The material of this report can be used by anybody who is interested in lexicography as a science and wants to know more about dictionary-making itself.

List of used literature

1. David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Second Edition) — Cambridge University Press, 2003.

2. Weiner E.S.C., The Oxford Miniguide to English Usage — OUP, 1987.

3. Lyons J., New Horizons in Linguistics — Lnd., 1970.

4. Longman Essential Activator, 1997.

5. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1996.

6. Arnold I.V., English Word — Moscow, 1973.

7. Benson M, Benson E, The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English Language — Amsterdam, 1986.

8. Borisova L.M., Fomenko O.V., Introduction to English Philology — Kolomna, 2004.

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