Nigel J. Ross

Ensnared by the Web of Words

Computers now play an important role in the compiling of dictionaries. Up until the 1980s, dictionaries were still put together more or less along the same paper-and-ink lines as a couple of hundred years earlier. In the last couple of decades, however, there have been numerous IT-led developments, revolutions and evolutions in lexicography, mostly to the benefit of dictionary users. After the corpus revolution, the Internet is now the modern new tool of lexicoraphers. While the Net is clearly an invaluable source of information for lexicographers, it should not be considered a foolproof gateway to facts and figures. An analysis of how the Internet can give very unreliable information, especially regarding word frequency, proves that caution as well as common sense is needed when using such modern aids.

published in English Today (Vol 19/4, October 2003), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

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English Today
(editor: Dr Tom McArthur)
Cambridge University Press
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email: English Today
website: Cambridge Journals




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