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Expanding the scope of the dictionary

New information types in dictionaries: introduction
© Michael Rundell. CC BY-NC 4.0

As dictionaries move from the printed page to online platforms, opportunities are opening up to add new kinds of information.

A familiar addition is the use of audio pronunciations: instead of learning the sound of a word by decoding a set of symbols in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), we can now hear a clip of someone actually saying the word. This is just one example of how dictionaries are taking advantage of the new possibilities that digital media can offer. Other recent innovations include things like slideshows, blogs, user-generated content (which we discussed in Week 4), and language games. In other words, the scope of dictionaries is expanding. Traditionally, we think of the dictionary as the place to visit in order to find out what words mean. But dictionaries are evolving to become ‘reference resources’ which provide a much wider range of information about words and language.

In the following three steps, we will look at some of the innovations which have been made possible by the move to digital media.

© Michael Rundell. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Understanding English Dictionaries

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