Original Research

The role of usability in e-lexicography

André H. du Plessis
Literator | Vol 38, No 2 | a1340 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i2.1340 | © 2017 André H. du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2016 | Published: 31 May 2017

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André H. du Plessis, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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In the development of the metalexicography, the primary focus of metalexicographers was on the development of printed dictionaries. As technology advances, the focus now shifts towards online and electronic products. Tarp (2009:23–24) posits that this shift results in metalexicographic shortcomings. This means that the theories used to create and evaluate dictionaries are not sufficient anymore. Bergenholtz and Bothma (2011:54) show that dictionaries as data carriers are now not only limited to the field of lexicography, but also to information technological fields. For current lexicographers to be successful in the digital age, the theories used in designing, developing and critiquing dictionaries must adapt with regards to current information technological trends, norms and practices. One aspect that must be addressed is the usability of dictionaries and other electronic lexicographic tools. By using usability theories and standards, current metalexicographical principles can be adapted for the digital age in a streamlined fashion. This study aims to show how usability theories and standards can be advantageous for metalexicography and that future electronic metalexicographic endeavours should not be undertaken without considering the usability as part of the theoretical framework.


Online dictionaries; mobile dictionaries; lexicography; metalexicography; usability


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