Classification in Lexicography: The Concept of Collocation in the Accounting Dictionaries

  • Pedro A. Fuertes-Olivera, Henning Bergenholtz, Sandro Nielsen, Marta Niño Amo
  • Lexicographica - International Annual for Lexicography / Internationales Jahrbuch für Lexikographie, January 2012, De Gruyter
  • DOI: 10.1515/lexi.2012-0015

Collocations in dictionaries are not merely linguistic collocations

What is it about?

A lexicographical approach to the treatment of collocations in dictionaries. A collocation is an umbrella term for referring to word combinations that are typical for the kind of language in question, and which can be useful to reuse in text production or to assist in text translation. They are composed of two or more orthographic words, do not constitute a full sentence, but offer potential users the possibility of obtaining relevant information. The treatment is exemplified in the Accounting Dictionaries, a set of online specialized dictionaries that represent a complex system of specific lexicographical and technological options for creating interaction between database and dictionary. For translation and production dictionaries, the inclusion of collocations is a must and the linguistic concept of collocation is not adequate for lexicography. Their lexicographical treatment must agree with the true nature of lexicography, for instance collocations must be directly connected with the subject field, the dictionary function(s), the use situation in which the dictionaries are intended to be used, their access route(s), and the levels of competence of the intended users.

Why is it important?

The linguistic understanding of collocations is not adequate for lexicography and dictionaries that provide assistance with text production and translation. The language of the domain, its factual structure and contents as well as user competences play a decisive role on selecting and presenting collocations in dictionaries.


Dr Sandro Nielsen
Aarhus Universitet

Compilers of dictionaries providing help to write and translate texts should not apply a traditional linguistic understanding of collocations but use a lexicographic approach to selecting and presenting collocations in dictionaries because this better ensures the satisfaction of user needs.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sandro Nielsen