Book Chapter

A survey of pragmatic information in bilingual English-Chinese learners' dictionaries


Li S (2009) A survey of pragmatic information in bilingual English-Chinese learners' dictionaries. In: Ooi V, Pakir A, Talib I & Tan P (eds.) Perspectives in Lexicography: Asia and beyond. Papers on Lexicography and Dictionaries, 1. Tel Aviv, Isreal: K Dictionaries Ltd, pp. 25-38.

Pragmatics describes how people use language and reflects the relationship between language and human life. Due to the great difference between the conventions and cultures of languages, learners' dictionaries, especially bilingual ones, need to provide users with pragmatic information to facilitate their understanding of another language. The present study investigates how pragmatic information is provided in the tested English-Chinese learners' Dictionaries in order to examine how, when, where and what kind of pragmatic information is provided in the two bilingualized dictionaries for advanced learners in China: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (hereafter LDOCE), Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English (hereafter OALD) and the two bilingual dictionary: The New-Century Multi-Functional English-Chinese Dictionary (hereafter NCMFD) and A Modern English-Chinese Dictionary Version 2003 (hereafter MECD). To strengthen the hypothesis, some empirical studies from the users' perspective were carried out. SPSS is used as the statistical tools for the data analysis. Tests, questionnaires and interviews are used to investigate (1) what is pragmatic information in a learners' dictionary? (2) What types of pragmatic information should be included in a learners' dictionary? (3) What kinds of user groups need more pragmatic information? (4) How pragmatic information is provided in the bilingual dictionaries? (5) Are there any differences between the four tested dictionaries from the user's perspective? I argue for a close interweaving of lexical semantic meaning with pragmatic information in bilingual learners' dictionaries. This paper also gives suggestions for the improvement of pragmatic information for bilingual learners' dictionaries.

bilingual learners' dictionary; pragmatic information; lexical semantics

Title of seriesPapers on Lexicography and Dictionaries
Number in series1
Publication date31/12/2009
PublisherK Dictionaries Ltd
Publisher URL…lexicography.pdf
Place of publicationTel Aviv, Isreal