Minimizing dictionary

From Academic Kids

A dictionary is minimizing if it attempts to include only a limited selction of words from a particular speech community. An example of a minimizing dictionary (also spelled minimising dictionary) is a dictionary containing the 2,000 most frequently used words in the English language, as it attempts to lemmatise (i.e. show as entry words) only a very limited number of English words using a specific principle for their selection. This is one way in which to classify dictionaries based on the number of entry words they contain and give information about, i.e. their coverage.

The distinction between a minimizing dictionary and a maximizing dictionary is also important in connection with specialized dictionaries. A law dictionary that contains 2,000 words is minimizing in that it cannot reasonably be claimed to cover more than a limited number of legal terms. This should be contrasted with a law dictionary that contains more than 20,000 entry words, which is a maximizing dictionary, as it attempts to include nearly all legal terms.

Relevant literature

  • Sandro Nielsen: "Contrastive Description of Dictionaries Covering LSP Communication", in: Fachsprache/International Journal of LSP 3-4/1990, 129-136
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