Computer Technology

How has Computer Technology affected dictionary-making?

Computers have affected dictionaries in two major areas: production and research. On the production side, dictionaries can now be stored in databases so that a change can be made very quickly and changes that affect the entire dictionary can be done in one step.

New editions of dictionaries can be produced without having to re-typeset the entire work. Computers have already become important as a method for publishing dictionaries—in electronic form, instead of paper—and this will likely be increasingly important in the future.

For research, lexicographers can have instant access to corpora—huge electronic samples of English—and can thus look for examples of rare words, compare grammatical information, gather example sentences and in general rely on real examples of English instead of having to fall back on personal impressions. They can also communicate rapidly with consultants across the world by using email.

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