Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

La lexicografia bilingüe

Jordi Bruguera


A monolingual dictionary offers word definitions. A bilingual dictionary provides equivalences between a source language and a target one. It relates the words in the source language to some sort of definition by synonymy, with a different phonetics.

Can there be wholly satisfactory equivalences between the linguistic units in one language and those in another one? Does this question relate in any sense to the notion of linguistic universal? With respect to denotation, anything that can be expressed in one language can undoubtedly be said in another. The original cultural homogeneity between many languages (for example, the Indoeuropean ones) makes easy for them to syntonize with one another with respect to the universals.

The criteria that are used to choose and provide a hierarchy of lemmas with their different meanings in a monolingual dictionary can be easily applied to bilingual dictionaries. The number of entries usually depends on the greater lexical offer of the source language because of the interest that can raise in the transfer to the target language. However, should any «speech» fact be reflected in a bilingual dictionary?

Users can expect a good bilingual dictionary to offer a large amount of vocabulary, which is usual and genuine in a variety of registers, with a detailed semantic description of every word and a collection of the idiomatisms in which the word is involved. It is also expected that the dictionary user can understand and expression in a particular language and express it in another one without altering their meaning content.

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