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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at the special case of definitions in monolingual dictionaries for non-native speakers of English, and ways in which definitions are constructed or modified to meet the needs of the target users: since the primary purpose of these dictionaries is pedagogical, the lexicographical aim is to explain word usage rather than delimit semantics more formally. The chapter begins by examining general principles, the language of explanations including defining vocabularies, and explanatory techniques. Later sections discuss the roles of pictorial illustrations and examples; the relationship between phraseology, meaning, and explanation; and the special issues raised in explaining very high-frequency words, evaluative and cultural meanings, pragmatic function, and technical vocabulary. The final section looks briefly at meaning in bilingualized and online dictionaries for learners.

Keywords: definition, explanation, learners' dictionaries, illustrations, phraseology, use of examples, evaluative meanings, cultural meanings, pragmatics, technical vocabulary

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