Lexicographic information costs

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Lexicographic information costs is a new concept within the field of lexicography. The term refers to the difficulties and inconveniences that the user of a dictionary believes or feels are associated with consulting a particular dictionary or dictionary article. For example, the extensive use of abbreviations in articles in order to save space may annoy the user, because it is often difficult to read such condensed texts and understanding the abbreviations, thereby increasing the lexicographic information costs.

The important point in connection with lexicographic information costs is the relation between the information costs anticipated by the user and the information value the user expects to gain from consulting a dictionary or dictionary article. The easier a user can navigate a dictionary and its articles, the lower the information costs and, hopefully, the user will be content with the dictionary. The better and more appropriate the information in the outside matter is integrated with the information in the articles, i.e. through cross-references, the better The higher the information costs of a dictionary, the more dissatisfied the user will be.

The concept of lexicographic information costs was first proposed by the Danish scholar and metalexicographer Sandro Nielsen (see below). The concept is relevant to lexicographers when planning and making a dictionary; for the users when consulting the dictionary; and for reviewers when evaluating a dictionary.

Relevant literature

  • Sandro Nielsen: "Mediostructures in Bilingual LSP Dictionaries". In Lexicographica. International Annual for Lexicography 15/1999,90-113.
  • Sandro Nielsen: "Textual Condensation in the Articles of de Gruyter Wörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache". In H. E. Wiegand (Hrsg.): Perspektiven der pädagogischen Lexikographie des Deutschen II. Niemeyer 2002, 597-608.
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