An industry perspective: dealing with language variation in Collins dictionaries

Ian Brookes, Mary O'Neill, Merryn Davies-Deacon

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This chapter illustrates how some dictionaries published under the Collins imprint deal with aspects of language variation. It provides three case studies: the first looks at how dictionaries portray languages where multiple norms enjoy a similar level of prestige, using the example of Irish; the second looks at how a large monolingual dictionary of English acknowledges the existence of variation within the language; and the third investigates how variations in spelling, pronunciation and lexis are dealt with in two English dictionaries designed for learners of English. These case studies reveal how different target readerships can determine the treatment of language variation in different dictionaries. In the final sections of the chapter, the focus shifts to the impact of technology on the process of publishing dictionaries, showing how different considerations come into play when creating materials for online access and suggesting how this medium may eventually allow for a dictionary concept that reflects the full variety of language in use rather than being orientated towards a single prestigious standard variety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge handbook of language standardization
EditorsWendy Ayres-Bennett, John Bellamy
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781108559249
ISBN (Print)9781108471817
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press


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