How is the bilingual dictionary possible?


What are the implications of cognitive linguistics for lexicography, specifically, bilingual lexicography?
This work provides a comprehensive answer by applying major principles of cognitive semantics and grammar to the task of developing a novel model of the bilingual dictionary. Based on conceptual analysis of entry words, multi-word units, and constructions, it provides access to the conventional linguistic knowledge of native speakers. The new dictionary called a dictionary for productive comprehension suggests effective remedies for the two major faults of the conventional bilingual dictionary, i.e. unrecognizability of the SL entry as a coherent conceptual whole by the TL user, and, consequently, inability to suggest precise orientations for the user's own production of an equivalent TL text, in a countless number of cases not anticipated by the dictionary-maker.
It proves that bilingual dictionary can be something other than an inventory of disparate senses, a boundless set of translation equivalents, or an eclectic mixture of the two. It also makes linguistic units’ grammatical behavior clearly motivated and comprehensible, serving the needs of a learner as well as a translator.
Much of what is considered in this study has not yet been explored in either linguistic or lexicographic literature.

Eugene Rivelis is a slavist affiliated with the Department of Slavic Languages at Stockholm University. He is also author of two Swedish-Russian dictionaries and a professional translator.

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