Essay Topics Dictionary

Four types of essays exist including: narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each type has a unique purpose: some tell a story, some are descriptive and others prevent viewpoints. One of the best ways to better understand each type of essay is to review examples.

Types of Essays

Narrative

Narration is telling a story from a certain viewpoint, and there is usually a reason for the telling. All narrative essays will have characters, setting, climax, and most importantly, a plot. The plot is the focus of the story and is usually revealed chronologically, but there are sometimes flash forwards and flash backs. 

In writing a narrative essay, remember to:

  • Include sensory and emotional details, so the reader will experience the story, not just read about it
  • Have the story support the point you are making, and make reference to that point in the first sentence.
  • Write in the first or third person

Descriptive

Descriptive essays have text which describes traits and characteristics of people, objects, events, feelings, etc in intricate detail.

Whatever is being described will be thoroughly examined. For example, if you were describing roses, you would explain:

  • Where they come from
  • What they look like
  • What colors they are
  • How they grow and smell

When you write a descriptive essay, you want to involve the reader’s senses and emotions. For example, you could say, “I got sleepy” or describe it like this, "As I was waiting for Santa, my eyelids began to get heavy, the lights on the tree began to blur with the green branches, and my head started to drop." The second sentence gives vivid details to make the reader feel like he is there.

Exposition

Expository essays can compare, explore and discuss problems, or tell a story. An exposition essay gives information about various topics to the reader. It:

In writing an exposition, the text needs to:

  • Be concise and easy to understand
  • Give different views on a subject or report on a situation or event
  • Explain something that may be difficult to understand as you write your essay.

Remember that your purpose is to explain.

Argumentative

In an argumentative essay the writer is trying to convince the reader by demonstrating the truth or falsity of a topic. The writer’s position will be backed up with certain kinds of evidence, like statistics or opinions of experts.

The writer is not just giving an opinion, but making an argument for or against something and supporting that argument with data.

To know how to write an essay in an argumentative way, you have to research and backup what you say in the text.

Learn by Example

When learning how to write an essay, sometimes the best way to learn is to look and analyze essay examples.

Following are excerpts from narrative essays:     

"Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled "warm and fuzzy feelings." As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe."
"The day I picked my dog up from the pound was one of the happiest days of both of our lives. I had gone to the pound just a week earlier with the idea that I would just "look" at a puppy. Of course, you can no more just look at those squiggling little faces so filled with hope and joy than you can stop the sun from setting in the morning. I knew within minutes of walking in the door that I would get a puppy… but it wasn't until I saw him that I knew I had found my puppy."
"Looking for houses was supposed to be a fun and exciting process. Unfortunately, none of the ones that we saw seemed to match the specifications that we had established. They were too small, too impersonal, too close to the neighbors. After days of finding nothing even close, we began to wonder: was there really a perfect house out there for us?"

The following is an example of a famous narrative written by John Updike, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu":

"The afternoon grew so glowering that in the sixth inning the arc lights were turned on--always a wan sight in the daytime, like the burning headlights of a funeral procession. Aided by the gloom, Fisher was slicing through the Sox rookies, and Williams did not come to bat in the seventh. He was second up in the eighth. This was almost certainly his last time to come to the plate in Fenway Park, and instead of merely cheering, as we had at his three previous appearances, we stood, all of us, and applauded."

Following are excerpts from descriptive essays:

"Like his twisted feathers, his many scars, the reliable old owl chose the gnarled, weather-beaten, but solid branch often—it being a companion to the wise alone with the night and the last branch to creak in the heaviest wind. He often came to survey the fields and the clouds before his hunt, to listen to the steady sound of the stream passing through reeds under the bridge, while combing his feathers for the unwanteds—whatever they might be."
Here is a descriptive essay about a first visit to a favorite diner written by a student at Roane State Community College:"When entering the door at Lou’s, two things are immediately noticeable: the place is rarely empty and seems to consist of a maze of rooms. The first room, through the door, is the main part of the restaurant. There is another, rarely used, dining room off to the right. It was added during the oil well boom of the seventies. Through the main dining room is yet another room; it guards the door leading into the kitchen. This room contains the most coveted table in the place. The highest tribute Lou can bestow on anyone is to allow them access to seats at this table. This table is the family table; it is reserved for Lou’s, and her daughter Karen’s, immediate family and treasured friends."
Here is an example of a descriptive essay from St. Cloud State:"Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for country auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of the parking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. Patton High School on the north end of town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray had arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right of the diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left. The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the wind was right. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it all was the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap two-by-fours and zebra paneling. Billy Ray was at home, usually, five blocks east of town on Kennel Road."

Following are excerpts from exposition essays:

"This family was a victim of a problem they could have avoided-a problem that, according to Florida park rangers, hundreds of visitors suffer each year." Several times a month," ranger Rod Torres of O'Leno State Park said, "people get scared and leave the park in the middle of the night." Those people picked the wrong kind of park to visit. Not that there was anything wrong with the park: The hikers camped next to them loved the wild isolation of it. But it just wasn't the kind of place the couple from New Jersey had in mind when they decided to camp out on this trip through Florida."
Here is an example of a student model answer of an Expository Essay from The Write Source:"Did you know that 7 out of 10 students have cheated at least once in the past year? Did you know that 50 percent of those students have cheated more than twice? These shocking statistics are from a survey of 9,000 U.S. high school students.Incredibly, teachers may even be encouraging their students to cheat! Last year at a school in Detroit, teachers allegedly provided their students with answers to statewide standard tests."Here is an another example of an expository essay.
This example comes from Essay Start:"Throughout history and through a cross-section of cultures, women have transformed their appearance to conform to a beauty ideal. Ancient Chinese aristocrats bound their feet as a show of femininity; American and European women in the 1800s cinched in their waists so tightly, some suffered internal damage; in some African cultures women continue to wear plates in their lower lips, continually stretching the skin to receive plates of larger size. The North American ideal of beauty has continually focussed on women's bodies: the tiny waist of the Victorian period, the boyish figure in vogue during the flapper era, and the voluptuous curves that were the measure of beauty between the 1930s and 1950s. Current standards emphasize a toned, slender look, one that exudes fitness, youth, and health. According to psychologist Eva Szekely, "Having to be attractive at this time . . . means unequivocally having to be thin. In North America today, thinness is a precondition for being perceived by others and oneself as healthy" (19). However, this relentless pursuit of thinness is not just an example of women trying to look their best, it is also a struggle for control, acceptance and success."

Finally, here are excerpts from argumentative essays:

"Gun control has been a controversial issue for years. A vast majority of citizens believe that if gun control is strictly enforced it would quickly reduce the threat of crime. Many innocent people feel they have the right to bear arms for protection, or even for the pleasure of hunting. These people are penalized for protecting their lives, or even for enjoying a common, innocent sport. To enforce gun control throughout the nation means violating a persons Constitutional rights. Although some people feel that the issue of gun control will limit crime, the issue should not exist due to the fact that guns are necessary for self defense against crime, and by enforcing gun control is violating a citizen’s second amendment right to bear arms."
Another examples of an argumentative essay comes from Bogazici University:"Throw out the bottles and boxes of drugs in your house. A new theory suggests that medicine could be bad for your health, which should at leastcome as good news to people who cannot afford to buy expensive medicine. However, it is a blow to the medicine industry, and an evenbigger blow to our confidence in the progress of science. This new theory argues that healing is at our fingertips: we can be healthy by doing Reikion on a regular basis."
On Essay By Example, on the other hand, the sample argumentative essay addresses online games and socialization:
"Online games aren't just a diversion, but a unique way to meet other people. As millions of gamers demonstrate, playing online is about friendship and cooperation, not just killing monsters. These games are a viable social network because players focus on teamwork, form groups with like-minded people and have romantic relationships with other players."Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) feature millions of players interacting in the same environment. The games are social in nature as they allow players to band together and complete missions based on a story line, or test their skills by fighting against each other. At the start of the game, the user creates a fictional character, and customizes its physical appearance. Since many games involve combat, players also outfit their characters with armor and weapons, as well as choose their "profession." Many popular game titles like World of Warcraft and Everquest follow a fantasy theme, so most professions have magical abilities like healing other players or raising undead minions. While the process seems simple, players may spend hours agonizing over the perfect look for their character, from their armor color to the type of skills to use in battle. Once their character is created, the player is free to explore the vast, digital world and interact with other players; however they must pay on average $15 a month for game content. MMOG users are mostly male - usually between the ages of 18-34 - although titles like World of Warcraft have a healthy population of female players as well. With millions of players, there are plenty of people to adventure with."

The key to learning to write a good essay is to read and study other essays and then practice, practice, rewrite and practice some more.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Essay Examples

By YourDictionary

Four types of essays exist including: narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each type has a unique purpose: some tell a story, some are descriptive and others prevent viewpoints. One of the best ways to better understand each type of essay is to review examples.

For other uses, see Dictionary (disambiguation).

A dictionary, sometimes known as a wordbook, is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically (or by radical and stroke for ideographic languages), which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc.[1] or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon.[1] It is a lexicographical product which shows inter-relationships among the data.[2]

A broad distinction is made between general and specialized dictionaries. Specialized dictionaries include words in specialist fields, rather than a complete range of words in the language. Lexical items that describe concepts in specific fields are usually called terms instead of words, although there is no consensus whether lexicology and terminology are two different fields of study. In theory, general dictionaries are supposed[citation needed] to be semasiological, mapping word to definition, while specialized dictionaries are supposed to be onomasiological, first identifying concepts and then establishing the terms used to designate them. In practice, the two approaches are used for both types.[3] There are other types of dictionaries that do not fit neatly into the above distinction, for instance bilingual (translation) dictionaries, dictionaries of synonyms (thesauri), and rhyming dictionaries. The word dictionary (unqualified) is usually understood to refer to a general purpose monolingual dictionary.[4]

There is also a contrast between prescriptive or descriptive dictionaries; the former reflect what is seen as correct use of the language while the latter reflect recorded actual use. Stylistic indications (e.g. "informal" or "vulgar") in many modern dictionaries are also considered by some to be less than objectively descriptive.[5]

Although the first recorded dictionaries date back to Sumerian times (these were bilingual dictionaries), the systematic study of dictionaries as objects of scientific interest themselves is a 20th-century enterprise, called lexicography, and largely initiated by Ladislav Zgusta.[4] The birth of the new discipline was not without controversy, the practical dictionary-makers being sometimes accused by others of "astonishing" lack of method and critical-self reflection.[6]

History[edit]

The oldest known dictionaries were Akkadian Empire cuneiform tablets with bilingual Sumerian–Akkadian wordlists, discovered in Ebla (modern Syria) and dated roughly 2300 BCE.[7] The early 2nd millennium BCE Urra=hubullu glossary is the canonical Babylonian version of such bilingual Sumerian wordlists. A Chinese dictionary, the c. 3rd century BCE Erya, was the earliest surviving monolingual dictionary; although some sources cite the c. 800 BCE Shizhoupian as a "dictionary", modern scholarship considers it a calligraphic compendium of Chinese characters from Zhou dynasty bronzes. Philitas of Cos (fl. 4th century BCE) wrote a pioneering vocabulary Disorderly Words (Ἄτακτοι γλῶσσαι, Átaktoi glôssai) which explained the meanings of rare Homeric and other literary words, words from local dialects, and technical terms.[8]Apollonius the Sophist (fl. 1st century CE) wrote the oldest surviving Homeric lexicon.[7] The first Sanskrit dictionary, the Amarakośa, was written by Amara Sinha c. 4th century CE. Written in verse, it listed around 10,000 words. According to the Nihon Shoki, the first Japanese dictionary was the long-lost 682 CE Niina glossary of Chinese characters. The oldest existing Japanese dictionary, the c. 835 CE Tenrei Banshō Meigi, was also a glossary of written Chinese. In Frahang-i Pahlavig, Aramaicheterograms are listed together with their translation in Middle Persian language and phonetic transcription in Pazand alphabet. A 9th-century CE Irish dictionary, Sanas Cormaic, contained etymologies and explanations of over 1,400 Irish words. In India around 1320, Amir Khusro compiled the Khaliq-e-bari which mainly dealt with Hindustani and Persian words.[9]

Arabic dictionaries were compiled between the 8th and 14th centuries CE, organizing words in rhyme order (by the last syllable), by alphabetical order of the radicals, or according to the alphabetical order of the first letter (the system used in modern European language dictionaries). The modern system was mainly used in specialist dictionaries, such as those of terms from the Qur'an and hadith, while most general use dictionaries, such as the Lisan al-`Arab (13th century, still the best-known large-scale dictionary of Arabic) and al-Qamus al-Muhit (14th century) listed words in the alphabetical order of the radicals. The Qamus al-Muhit is the first handy dictionary in Arabic, which includes only words and their definitions, eliminating the supporting examples used in such dictionaries as the Lisan and the Oxford English Dictionary.[10]

In medieval Europe, glossaries with equivalents for Latin words in vernacular or simpler Latin were in use (e.g. the Leiden Glossary). The Catholicon (1287) by Johannes Balbus, a large grammatical work with an alphabetical lexicon, was widely adopted. It served as the basis for several bilingual dictionaries and was one of the earliest books (in 1460) to be printed. In 1502 Ambrogio Calepino's Dictionarium was published, originally a monolingual Latin dictionary, which over the course of the 16th century was enlarged to become a multilingual glossary. In 1532 Robert Estienne published the Thesaurus linguae latinae and in 1572 his son Henri Estienne published the Thesaurus linguae graecae, which served up to the 19th century as the basis of Greek lexicography. The first monolingual dictionary written in Europe was the Spanish, written by Sebastián Covarrubias' Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española, published in 1611 in Madrid, Spain.[11] In 1612 the first edition of the Vocabolario dell'Accademia della Crusca, for Italian, was published. It served as the model for similar works in French and English. In 1690 in Rotterdam was published, posthumously, the Dictionnaire Universel by Antoine Furetière for French. In 1694 appeared the first edition of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. Between 1712 and 1721 was published the Vocabulario portughez e latino written by Raphael Bluteau. The Real Academia Española published the first edition of the Diccionario de la lengua española in 1780, but their Diccionario de Autoridades, which included quotes taken from literary works, was published in 1726. The Totius Latinitatis lexicon by Egidio Forcellini was firstly published in 1777; it has formed the basis of all similar works that have since been published.

The first edition of A Greek-English Lexicon by Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott appeared in 1843; this work remained the basic dictionary of Greek until the end of the 20th century. And in 1858 was published the first volume of the Deutsches Wörterbuch by the Brothers Grimm; the work was completed in 1961. Between 1861 and 1874 was published the Dizionario della lingua italiana by Niccolò Tommaseo. Between 1862 and 1874 was published the six volumes of A magyar nyelv szótára (Dictionary of Hungarian Language) by Gergely Czuczor and János Fogarasi. Émile Littré published the Dictionnaire de la langue française between 1863 and 1872. In the same year 1863 appeared the first volume of the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal which was completed in 1998. Also in 1863 Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl published the Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language. The Duden dictionary dates back to 1880, and is currently the prescriptive source for the spelling of German. The decision to start work on the Svenska Akademiens ordbok was taken in 1787.[12]

English dictionaries in Britain[edit]

The earliest dictionaries in the English language were glossaries of French, Spanish or Latin words along with their definitions in English. The word "dictionary" was invented by an Englishman called John of Garland in 1220 — he had written a book Dictionarius to help with Latin "diction".[13] An early non-alphabetical list of 8000 English words was the Elementarie, created by Richard Mulcaster in 1582.[14][15]

The first purely English alphabetical dictionary was A Table Alphabeticall, written by English schoolteacher Robert Cawdrey in 1604. The only surviving copy is found at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. This dictionary, and the many imitators which followed it, was seen as unreliable and nowhere near definitive. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield was still lamenting in 1754, 150 years after Cawdrey's publication, that it is "a sort of disgrace to our nation, that hitherto we have had no… standard of our language; our dictionaries at present being more properly what our neighbors the Dutch and the Germans call theirs, word-books, than dictionaries in the superior sense of that title." [16]

In 1616, John Bullokar described the history of the dictionary with his "English Expositor". Glossographia by Thomas Blount, published in 1656, contains more than 10,000 words along with their etymologies or histories. Edward Phillips wrote another dictionary in 1658, entitled "The New World of English Words: Or a General Dictionary" which boldly plagiarized Blount's work, and the two denounced [clarification needed] each other. This created more interest in the dictionaries. John Wilkins' 1668 essay on philosophical language contains a list of 11,500 words with careful distinctions, compiled by William Lloyd.[17]Elisha Coles published his "English Dictionary" in 1676.

It was not until Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) that a more reliable English dictionary was produced. Many people today mistakenly believe that Johnson wrote the first English dictionary: a testimony to this legacy.[18] By this stage, dictionaries had evolved to contain textual references for most words, and were arranged alphabetically, rather than by topic (a previously popular form of arrangement, which meant all animals would be grouped together, etc.). Johnson's masterwork could be judged as the first to bring all these elements together, creating the first "modern" dictionary.[18]

Johnson's dictionary remained the English-language standard for over 150 years, until the Oxford University Press began writing and releasing the Oxford English Dictionary in short fascicles from 1884 onwards. It took nearly 50 years to complete this huge work, and they finally released the complete OED in twelve volumes in 1928. It remains the most comprehensive and trusted English language dictionary to this day, with revisions and updates added by a dedicated team every three months. One of the main contributors to this modern dictionary was an ex-army surgeon, William Chester Minor, a convicted murderer who was confined to an asylum for the criminally insane.[19]

American English dictionaries[edit]

In 1806, American Noah Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1807 Webster began compiling an expanded and fully comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language; it took twenty-seven years to complete. To evaluate the etymology of words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit.

Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, France, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained seventy thousand words, of which twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before. As a spelling reformer, Webster believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex, so his dictionary introduced American English spellings, replacing "colour" with "color", substituting "wagon" for "waggon", and printing "center" instead of "centre". He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash", that did not appear in British dictionaries. At the age of seventy, Webster published his dictionary in 1828; it sold 2500 copies. In 1840, the second edition was published in two volumes.

Types[edit]

In a general dictionary, each word may have multiple meanings. Some dictionaries include each separate meaning in the order of most common usage while others list definitions in historical order, with the oldest usage first.[20]

In many languages, words can appear in many different forms, but only the undeclined or unconjugated form appears as the headword in most dictionaries. Dictionaries are most commonly found in the form of a book, but some newer dictionaries, like StarDict and the New Oxford American Dictionary are dictionary software running on PDAs or computers. There are also many online dictionaries accessible via the Internet.

Specialized dictionaries[edit]

Main article: Specialized dictionary

According to the Manual of Specialized Lexicographies, a specialized dictionary, also referred to as a technical dictionary, is a dictionary that focuses upon a specific subject field. Following the description in The Bilingual LSP Dictionary, lexicographers categorize specialized dictionaries into three types: A multi-field dictionary broadly covers several subject fields (e.g. a business dictionary), a single-field dictionary narrowly covers one particular subject field (e.g. law), and a sub-field dictionary covers a more specialized field (e.g. constitutional law). For example, the 23-language Inter-Active Terminology for Europe is a multi-field dictionary, the American National Biography is a single-field, and the African American National Biography Project is a sub-field dictionary. In terms of the coverage distinction between "minimizing dictionaries" and "maximizing dictionaries", multi-field dictionaries tend to minimize coverage across subject fields (for instance, Oxford Dictionary of World Religions and Yadgar Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms)[21] whereas single-field and sub-field dictionaries tend to maximize coverage within a limited subject field (The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology).

Another variant is the glossary, an alphabetical list of defined terms in a specialized field, such as medicine (medical dictionary).

Defining dictionaries[edit]

The simplest dictionary, a defining dictionary, provides a core glossary of the simplest meanings of the simplest concepts. From these, other concepts can be explained and defined, in particular for those who are first learning a language. In English, the commercial defining dictionaries typically include only one or two meanings of under 2000 words. With these, the rest of English, and even the 4000 most common English idioms and metaphors, can be defined.

Prescriptive vs. descriptive[edit]

Lexicographers apply two basic philosophies to the defining of words: prescriptive or descriptive. Noah Webster, intent on forging a distinct identity for the American language, altered spellings and accentuated differences in meaning and pronunciation of some words. This is why American English now uses the spelling color while the rest of the English-speaking world prefers colour. (Similarly, British English subsequently underwent a few spelling changes that did not affect American English; see further at American and British English spelling differences.)[22]

Large 20th-century dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Webster's Third are descriptive, and attempt to describe the actual use of words. Most dictionaries of English now apply the descriptive method to a word's definition, and then, outside of the definition itself, and information alerting readers to attitudes which may influence their choices on words often considered vulgar, offensive, erroneous, or easily confused.[23]Merriam-Webster is subtle, only adding italicized notations such as, sometimes offensive or stand (nonstandard). American Heritage goes further, discussing issues separately in numerous "usage notes." Encarta provides similar notes, but is more prescriptive, offering warnings and admonitions against the use of certain words considered by many to be offensive or illiterate, such as, "an offensive term for..." or "a taboo term meaning...".

Because of the widespread use of dictionaries in schools, and their acceptance by many as language authorities, their treatment of the language does affect usage to some degree, with even the most descriptive dictionaries providing conservative continuity. In the long run, however, the meanings of words in English are primarily determined by usage, and the language is being changed and created every day.[24] As Jorge Luis Borges says in the prologue to "El otro, el mismo": "It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature."

Sometimes the same dictionary can be descriptive in some domains and prescriptive in others. For example, according to Ghil'ad Zuckermann, the Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary is "at war with itself": whereas its coverage (lexical items) and glosses (definitions) are descriptive and colloquial, its vocalization is prescriptive. This internal conflict results in absurd sentences such as hi taharóg otí kshetiré me asíti lamkhonít (she'll tear me apart when she sees what I've done to the car). Whereas hi taharóg otí, literally 'she will kill me', is colloquial, me (a variant of ma 'what') is archaic, resulting in a combination that is unutterable in real life.[25]

Historical dictionaries[edit]

A historical dictionary is a specific kind of descriptive dictionary which describes the development of words and senses over time, usually using citations to original source material to support its conclusions.

Dictionaries for natural language processing[edit]

In contrast to traditional dictionaries, which are designed to be used by human beings, dictionaries for natural language processing (NLP) are built to be used by computer programs. The final user is a human being but the direct user is a program. Such a dictionary does not need to be able to be printed on paper. The structure of the content is not linear, ordered entry by entry but has the form of a complex network (see Diathesis alternation). Because most of these dictionaries are used to control machine translations or cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) the content is usually multilingual and usually of huge size. In order to allow formalized exchange and merging of dictionaries, an ISO standard called Lexical Markup Framework (LMF) has been defined and used among the industrial and academic community.

Further information: Machine-readable dictionary

Other types[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Main articles: International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects and Pronunciation respelling for English

In many languages, such as the English language, the pronunciation of some words is not apparent from their spelling. In these languages, dictionaries usually provide the pronunciation. For example, the definition for the word dictionary might be followed by the International Phonetic Alphabet spelling . American English dictionaries often use their own pronunciation respelling systems with diacritics, for example dictionary is respelled as "dĭkshə-nĕr′ē" in the American Heritage Dictionary.[26] The IPA is more commonly used within the British Commonwealth countries. Yet others use their own pronunciation respelling systems without diacritics: for example, dictionary may be respelled as DIK-shə-nerr-ee. Some online or electronic dictionaries provide audio recordings of words being spoken.

Examples[edit]

Major English dictionaries[edit]

Further information: Comparison of English dictionaries

Dictionaries of other languages[edit]

Histories and descriptions of the dictionaries of other languages include:

Online dictionaries[edit]

The age of the Internet brought online dictionaries to the desktop and, more recently, to the smart phone. David Skinner in 2013 noted that "Among the top ten lookups on Merriam-Webster Online at this moment are 'holistic, pragmatic, caveat, esoteric' and 'bourgeois.' Teaching users about words they don’t already know has been, historically, an aim of lexicography, and modern dictionaries do this well."[27]

There exist a number of websites which operate as online dictionaries, usually with a specialized focus. Some of them have exclusively user driven content, often consisting of neologisms. Some of the more notable examples include:

Further information: List of online dictionaries

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Bergenholtz, Henning; Tarp, Sven, eds. (1995). Manual of Specialised Lexicography: The Preparation of Specialised Dictionaries. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 90-272-1612-6. 
  • Erdmann, Peter; Cho, See-Young. "A Brief History of English Lexicography". Technische Universität Berlin. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  • Landau, Sidney I. (2001) [1984]. Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78040-3. 
  • Nielsen, Sandro (1994). The Bilingual LSP Dictionary: Principles and Practice for Legal Language. Tübingeb: Gunter Narr. ISBN 3-8233-4533-8. 
  • Nielsen, Sandro (2008). "The Effect of Lexicographical Information Costs on Dictionary Making and Use". Lexikos. 18: 170–189. ISSN 1684-4904. 
  • Atkins, B.T.S. & Rundell, Michael (2008) The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927771-1
  • Winchester, Simon (1998). The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-099486-X.  (published in the UK as The Surgeon of Crowthorne).
  • P. G. J. van Sterkenburg, ed. (2003). A practical guide to lexicography. John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-58811-381-8. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Guy Jean Forgue, "The Norm in American English," Revue Française d'Etudes Americaines, Nov 1983, Vol. 8 Issue 18, pp 451–461. An international appreciation of the importance of Webster's dictionaries in setting the norms of the English language.

External links[edit]

The French-language Petit Larousse is an example of an illustrated dictionary.
  1. ^ abWebster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 2002
  2. ^Nielsen, Sandro (2008). "The Effect of Lexicographical Information Costs on Dictionary Naming and Use". Lexikos. 18: 170–189. ISSN 1684-4904. 
  3. ^A Practical Guide to Lexicography, Sterkenburg 2003, pp. 155–157
  4. ^ abA Practical Guide to Lexicography, Sterkenburg 2003, pp. 3–4
  5. ^A Practical Guide to Lexicography, Sterkenburg 2003, p. 7
  6. ^R. R. K. Hartmann (2003). Lexicography: Dictionaries, compilers, critics, and users. Routledge. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-415-25366-6. 
  7. ^ abDictionary – MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
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