In their work, lexicographers always encounter the question of which words they should include in the dictionary they compile. The decision, of course, largely depends on the kind of dictionary they are making. For example, in the case of a dictionary of a certain specialized language, where one can aim for completeness, the choice would be less difficult than in the case of a general dictionary, simply because it seems to be impossible to capture the entire lexicon of a language in one dictionary. With monolingual lexicography, the problem of choice involves one side, that of the source language. With bilingual lexicography, however, it involves two sides: the side of both the source and the target languages. With this comes an additional difference, of whether the product is a reception dictionary (a passive dictionary) or a production dictionary (an active dictionary). For example, in the case of a Spanish-English dictionary, if the aim is to help English speakers understand Spanish texts, then it would be in the best interest of the user to use a macrostructure that is as extensive as possible, while the microstructure can remain relatively simple and consist of a series of possible translations. If the dictionary is meant to help Spanish speakers with producing English texts, then the user would be best served by an extensive microstructure, indicating which translation would fit best in which context, while the macrostructure should focus on having a representative selection of the words of the target language. A Spanish-English dictionary exemplifies symmetrical bilingualism, where both English and Spanish are large, autonomous languages with a clearly described standard. Asymmetrical bilingualism is different, for example in the case of Dutch-Frisian bilingualism, which we, as native speakers of both Frisian and Dutch, know best. The Dutch language is a large, autonomous language – with a pre-eminent position in, for example, administration and education – in which respect Frisian finds itself in a dependent position. Even in the Dutch province of Fryslân (Friesland), the natural domain of Frisian, Dutch is the unmarked language, which, in principle, can be used anywhere, while the use of Frisian is much more circumscribed. Frisian speakers master Dutch as well as Frisian, while the opposite is not the case, including the Dutch speakers who live in Fryslân. The Dutch language has a clearly described standard (as well as scope for variation). Although a kind of standard Frisian certainly has developed, this standard shows on the one hand a reasonably large spectrum, while on the other hand Frisian lacks the power to implement that standard in many social domains and to enforce its usage. All this has consequences for bilingual (Frisian-Dutch and Dutch-Frisian) lexicography. Dutch speakers will normally use a Frisian-Dutch dictionary in order to understand texts written in Frisian. According to the most recent language survey, only 60% of Frisian speakers say they are able to read Frisian reasonably well to very well, which means the majority do not need to use a Frisian-Dutch dictionary to understand a Frisian text. They would, however, wish to use it to check the meaning of Frisian words that are unknown to them. In this respect it is important to keep in mind that Frisian speakers do not generally receive much education in Frisian, especially in comparison with the education they receive in Dutch. They would also use such a dictionary to check the correct spelling of Frisian words, even though a monolingual explanatory dictionary in Frisian is also available, in addition to the necessary digital resources that have been developed and which are free to use. The conclusion must be that a Frisian-Dutch dictionary, to a certain extent, is used for the same purpose by both Dutch and Frisian speakers. On the other hand, a Dutch-Frisian dictionary is not required by Frisian speakers in order to understand Dutch texts. As a result of their bilingualism, Frisian speakers master the Dutch language, and if necessary could easily consult a (monolingual) Dutch dictionary. A Dutch-Frisian dictionary is used by Dutch as well as Frisian speakers for producing texts in Frisian: by Dutch speakers because they do not master Frisian at all and by Frisian speakers, because they are able to write Dutch much better than Frisian, as a result of an inadequate or non-existent education in Frisian. That is why the majority of Frisian speakers ‘think in Dutch’ when writing Frisian. Hence, to a certain extent, a Dutch-Frisian dictionary is used by both Dutch and Frisian speakers for the same purpose. The Frisian language is under constant pressure from the Dutch language as a result of this asymmetrical bilingualism. The Dutch language also affects the Frisian language on all linguistic levels, not least the lexical one. When forming a standard Frisian language, the relationship to the Dutch language plays an important part. This is also the case when compiling a Dutch-Frisian dictionary. The lexicographer is always confronted with the question of how to deal with the influence that Dutch has on Frisian, in terms of individual words, collocations, idioms, and in phraseology generally. The starting point for the lexicographical practice in this respect is determined by the language ideology that is followed. On the one hand, the influence of the Dutch language could be considered as inevitable and obvious, something that cannot be avoided, while on the other hand, it could also be rejected completely and opposed in all possible ways. Neither of these extremes could ever be fully implemented in lexicographical practice. The first extreme, to accept the Dutch influence as an inevitable fact, would result in a descriptive dictionary, one that would include such a large proportion of so-called ‘Dutchisms’ that the individuality of the Frisian language would be endangered, something no one would intentionally want. Frisian speakers can always adopt Dutch elements in their Frisian; due to their bilingualism, such elements are easy to adopt. There is however a general awareness that there are other possibilities in Frisian, that there is a ‘better Frisian’, a more standardised variant. They expect to be able to find this in a dictionary. The other extreme, to reject Dutch influence completely, would result in a prescriptive dictionary, which would present a kind of Frisian that the average Frisian speaker could hardly recognise (or even acknowledge) as his or her own language. This could easily have an alienating effect. It is improbable that such a dictionary would or could result in the acceptance and usage of the (more or less unnatural) Frisian promulgated in it. A compromise between description and prescription is proscription (see Bergenholtz and Gouws (2010)). Within this approach, Dutch or ‘Dutchified’ Frisian elements are included next to their ‘pure’ Frisian counterparts, with the status of each indicated. This option is chosen in the realisation that the dichotomy of ‘good Frisian’ versus ‘incorrect Frisian’ is too simplistic and, therefore unrealistic. What could be considered as ‘incorrect Frisian’ in one situation, could be ‘good Frisian’ in another, and vice versa. Proscription leaves the choice to the dictionary user, in accordance with the view that the Frisian speakers should decide for themselves which kind of Frisian they wish to use. A Frisian speaker simply has no choice but to relate to both Frisian and Dutch. The same goes for the Frisian lexicographer, who will always have to manoeuvre himself through the straits of acceptance and rejection of Dutch influence on Frisian. This, of course, is an ideologically and emotionally charged matter, one that gives rise to many often fierce, sometimes even unreasonable, debates. The above points are not unique to bilingual Frisian lexicography. In any situation where lexicographers have to operate in the face of asymmetrical bilingualism, they are forced to deal with the choice between acceptance and rejection of the influence that the more dominant language exerts on the weaker language. Furthermore, every language situation is different. The number of speakers of the language, the state which the language’s speakers are a part of, its form of government, its economic and political situation as well as its history, all determine the social position and status of the language in question. These in their turn inevitably influence the possibilities and impossibilities of the relevant bilingual lexicography. In this field, then, we can speak of ‘unity in diversity’. This topic was the subject of a congress on ‘The Role of Lexicography in Standardisation and Purification of Lesser Used Languages’, held in April 2015, organised by the Frisian Academy in Leeuwarden (Fryslân), an institution that, among other things, occupies itself with the lexicography of the Frisian language. After the congress, the speakers have turned their lectures into the articles that are published here. As the guest editors, we hope and expect that they will increase understanding of these issues and will be able to contribute to the ongoing discussion on this subject. A short summary of the included articles is given below. In their contribution ‘Basque Lexicography and Purism’, Miren Azkarate and David Lindemann discuss the role that purism, in conjunction with the standardisation of the language, has played in the lexicography of the Basque language. In the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, purism in Basque lexicography and terminology was fuelled by several views, from a playful approach to a downright xenophobic one. Later in the 20th century, a movement of ‘reformist purism’ emerged, aimed at the use of Basque as a tool for communication in modern Basque society, particularly for producing usable texts. In this article, the authors review puristic proposals for replacing loanwords from various periods. Furthermore, they measure the actual success of these proposed purisms vis-à-vis that of the borrowed counterparts using frequency data based on large text corpora. Andrew Hawke in ‘Coping with an expanding vocabulary; the lexicographical contribution to Welsh’, discusses a language with a long tradition of bilingual lexicography. Welsh speakers have been borrowing extensively from English for centuries, something that continues today on a large scale. However, the Welsh have succeeded to a certain extent in devising puristic neologisms (general vocabulary and specific terminology) and in getting these incorporated into the modern vocabulary, which means that they are accepted and used by many Welsh speakers. Without effective cooperation between lexicographers, specialists in terminology, educationalists, translators, and the Welsh media this would not have been possible. In ‘Irish Lexicography in Borrowed Time: The Recording of Anglo-Irish Borrowings in Early Twentieth-Century Irish Dictionaries (1904-1927)’, Chris Mulhall discusses the case of the Irish language. His starting point is that loanwords, on the one hand, have gradually become an ordinary phenomenon, while on the other hand, they form a potential danger for preserving the lexical structure of a language, something which is particularly true in the case of minority languages. Irish speakers have been borrowing extensively from English for centuries, which has influenced the language significantly. Here, dictionaries have played an important part. Including a certain loanword in a dictionary inevitably means accepting its existence and that, furthermore, is an acknowledgement of its permanent status in the borrowing language. The early 20th century in Ireland was a period of national renewal and of the fight for identity based on the Irish language. The author looks at two dictionaries published in this period, and reviews how they approach English loanwords. This proves to be in very different ways, depending on the language ideology of the compiler. After Estonia had detached itself from Russia in the early nineties of the last century, more room arose for individual language politics for the Estonian language. In ‘Native vs. borrowed material as approached by Estonian language planning practitioners: the experience of the Dictionary of Standard Estonian’, Maire Raadik and Maria Tuulik discuss how this was, and is, given shape. In particular, this concerns the question of how language planners and lexicographers approach loanwords. For this purpose, a large part is played by the Dictionary of Standard Estonian (DSE). This dictionary, which embodies a century’s tradition, represents the standardised Estonian language; as such, it is essential for Estonian language planning. In ‘Lexicography in a Minority Language: a Multifunctional Online Dutch-Frisian Dictionary’, Pieter Duijff and Frits van der Kuip discuss the position of Frisian as a minority language and what this means for Frisian lexicographical practice. They explain why they have chosen a Dutch-Frisian production dictionary especially for Frisian speakers. They also discuss the issue of the selection of Frisian language material: dialect forms or the standard language, purisms or loanwords. Finally, they outline the software for editing and using the dictionary and devote a few words to user involvement. Lastly, in ‘Looking back while moving forward. The impact of societal and technological developments on Flemish sign language lexicographical practices’, Myriam Vermeerberghen and Mieke van Herreweghe give an overview of lexicographical projects involving Flemish Sign Language (FSL). This language consists of five regional variants. From an educational perspective, the focus in the 1980s and 1990s was on lexical unification, aiming for a common sign language, Signed Dutch. The Flemish deaf community, however, rejected standardisation from above and chose to include regional variants, labelled as such, in the electronic bilingual FSL-Dutch dictionary (2004). This resulted in a change of focus. Furthermore, the authors discuss the role of both societal and technological developments in lexicographical work involving FSL. As guest editors of this special issue we would like to thank the following. In the first place, of course, the authors, without whom this special issue could not have been published. Not only were they willing to offer their articles for publication, they have also been very constructive in the editing process, especially by keeping to the deadlines posed by us. In the second place, a word of thanks is in order to the colleagues who have acted as anonymous peer reviewers. Last but not least, we want to thank the editor of IJL, Robert Lew, for his willingness to regard the joint articles as a special issue of the journal and for his help, particularly in the final stage of the editing process. Reference Bergenholtz H. , Gouws R. H. 2010. ‘A Functional Approach to the Choice between Descriptive, Prescriptive and Proscriptive Lexicography.’ Lexikos 20 : 26 – 51 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © 2018 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
International Journal of Lexicography – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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