Although everyone (or almost everyone) uses dictionaries, most people aren’t really aware of how they are made, the range of information they contain, or the differences between dictionaries of various kinds. In recent years there have been big changes in the dictionary landscape, with the emergence of apps, online dictionaries, and new breeds of collaborative and crowd-sourced reference works. More dictionaries, in more different formats, are available than ever, so this talk offers a guide through the ‘dictionary jungle’, explaining defining practices and dictionary-making processes, taking a look at some of the best and worst examples of the craft, and examining the attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions of dictionary users. During the talk I will report on our open-access “Understanding English Dictionaries” MOOC, which runs on the FutureLearn platform.
Hilary Nesi’s research activities mostly concern corpus analysis, English for academic purposes, and the design and use of reference tools. She edits Journal of English for Academic Purposes and Lingua, and was principal investigator for the projects to create the BASE and the BAWE corpora of British Academic English
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