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Lexicographic phonetics or phonetic lexicography?


... still only appears in NLP-MRDs (e.g. Roach & Arnfield 1998) ... forms rivalling the first-given in perceived frequency' (Roach & Hartman 1997:vi) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lexicographic phonetics or phonetic lexicography?

Lexicographic phonetics or phonetic lexicography?
11th International Symposium on Lexicography,
Copenhagen 2-4 May 2002
  • Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak
  • School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University
  • Poznan, Poland

  • Lexicographic phonetics is phonetics applied to
    the process of dictionary-making. While it has
    not been labeled as such, it has traditionally
    been concerned with issues such as the choice of
    accent and transcription to represent in
    dictionaries, the extent of dialectal,
    phonostylistic and idiosyncratic variation of
    pronunciation covered, the representation of
    stress and weak forms, etc. Authors have
    included Abercrombie, Gimson and Wells, among
  • Phonetic lexicography is what dictionary makers
    and critics do when they ponder sound
    representation from the lexicographic
    perspective. Issues of relevance include the
    questions of consistency, the place and role of
    pronunciation in the microstructure of the
    dictionary, the treatment of pronunciation in
    learners' dictionaries, sound recording, playback
    and synthesis in electronic multimedia
    dictionaries, and others. Few (meta)lexicographer
    s have ever done substantial work in this area.
  • Ultimately, the two pursuits cannot be clearly
    delimited, of course. They both cover, each from
    its own perspective, the little-explored ground
    of sound representation in dictionaries. Both
    the traditionally tackled issues and the new
    vistas are discussed in the paper.

  • Is there the discipline of lexicographic
    phonetics (lexphon) and phonetic lexicography
  • Science?
  • "Of no importance"
  • Language is primarily spoken
  • Phonetic lexicographers (?)
  • Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • Rules vs. lists
  • Consistency
  • Respelling
  • Pronunciation preference polls
  • Conclusions

Lexicographic phonetics (lexphon) vs. phonetic
lexicography (phonlex)
  • A discipline must have its specific "(a) subject
    matter, (b) perspectives, (c) methods, (d) body
    of knowledge, (e) modes of discourse" (Wiegand
    1998 as quoted in Hartmann 2001120).
  • "Lexicography is not yet a science. It may never
    be. It is an intricate and subtle art,
    requiring subjective analysis, arbitrary
    decisions, and intuitive reasoning" (Gove
  • "Unfortunately, the theory underlying the
    pronunciation component in a dictionary is too
    frequently difficult to discern" (Gimson
  • "Pronunciation has too long been treated as a
    lexicographic art It is high time that it
    became a science" (Secrist 197854).

"Of no importance"
Lexicographic phonetics (lexphon) vs. phonetic
lexicography (phonlex)
  • "Some reputable scholars have considered the
    makeup of the pronunciation key to be 'of no
    importance whatsoever'" (Secrist 197845, quoting
    Hausholder Saporta 1975174).
  • "I do not think it should be taken for granted
    that indication of pronunciation is a necessary
    part of an entry in a work of reference"
    (Abercrombie 1978119).
  • "Zeichen sich die einsprachigen Wörterbücher des
    Deutschen dadurch aus, dass dort die Aussprache
    relativ unsystematisch, nicht selten nachlässig
    und gedankenlos, bisweilen sogar inkompetent
    behandelt wird" (Klein 1999).

"Language is primarily spoken"
Lexicographic phonetics (lexphon) vs. phonetic
lexicography (phonlex)
  • "Today, when we no longer regard speech as a
    degraded form of writing, the pronunciation entry
    in dictionaries should be accorded much
    greater importance" (Gimson 1973115).
  • But the phon ? (trans) ? graph perspective still
    only appears in NLP-MRDs (e.g. Roach Arnfield
    1998). Entry order "Selbst Aussprache-wörterbüch
    er sind in der Regel orthographisch angeordnet"
    (Ternes 1989509 same in Muthmann 1998229).
    So, phonetic access (Sobkowiak 1994, 1998, 1999)
    is still impossible.

Phonetic lexicographers (?)
Lexicographic phonetics (lexphon) vs. phonetic
lexicography (phonlex)
  • Syrinx is hiring a phonetic lexicographer
    "Duties will include overseeing the phonemic
    transcriptions of the lexical entries, as well as
    liaising with other linguists to insure
    uniformity in the syntactic and semantic
    information of the lexemes writing conversion
    rules to other varieties of English
    reviewing the phonemic symbols used presently at
    Syrinx and in other dictionaries writing
    conversion rules to go from one set of phonemic
    symbols to another". http//english.uq.edu.au/lin
    guistics/ jobs.html posted March 28th, 2001
    last accessed April 18, 2002

Rules vs. lists (1)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • "Dictionaries are such language resources which
    are seldom perceived or categorized as rule-based
    or rule-fostering. To be sure, they are orderly
    presentations of language material but
    dictionary contents are popularly regarded as
    little more than a listing of items with no
    overall linguistic structure beyond alphabetic
    ordering But the rules are inevitably there,
    and the learner is bound to assimilate them
    inductively in direct proportion to his/her use
    of the dictionary " (Sobkowiak 199795-6).
  • "It cannot realistically be seen as part of the
    dictionary's function to teach the sound system"
    (Brazil 1987161).
  • "It is possible, therefore, for the dictionary to
    provide the information about a word that a
    speaker needs to arrive at its pronunciation by
    rule" (Brazil 1987166).

Rules vs. lists (2)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • "The foreign learner will expect his information
    on pronunciation to be given clearly at the point
    of entry not to rely on general rules"
    (Gimson 1981251).
  • "The typographic complexity with stacked /?/-/?/
    in LDOCE WS could have been avoided by giving,
    for instance, only /?/ with a simple conversion
    rule stated in the introduction" (Gimson
  • Rules are hidden "Die Transkription erscheint
    nur für das Leitwort, nicht für Ableitungen und
    Zusammensetzungen, z.B. Micro Robert traskribiert
    citron aber nicht citronnier. Dies hat den
    Nachteil, daß gerade die schwierigeren Wörter
    nicht transkribiert werden" (Ternes 1989514).
    Piotrowski (198740) gives the example of

Rules vs. lists (3)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • "In ELT one is faced with the choice between
    teaching the rule (so that again variants need no
    mention) and listing the variants at each entry
    (leaving the rule to be inferred or ignored)"
    (Wells 198547 examples linking/intrusive /r/
    syllabic sonorants). "The purpose served by
    pronunciation indication in dictionaries is
    ... to advise the user who is unsure of the
    spoken form of a word by recommending a suitable
    pronunciation for it" (Wells 198545 my emphasis
    -- WS).
  • "The phonological behaviour of words in context
    and its representation deserves equal attention"
    (Magay 1979103). "An adequate stress shift
    notation is probably of far greater importance
    for the advanced foreign speaker than for the
    native speaker" (Broeders Hyams 1984171).
    Similarly Cowie (199986-7, 98, 107), Ternes
    "Satzphonetik" (1989515).
  • "I believe that the user of an EFL dictionary has
    the right to expect advice not only on the
    pronunciation of a given word, but also
    sublexical units on the one hand, such as common
    letter/phoneme clusters (e.g. word-final syllabic
    sonorants) or morphemes, and supralexical units
    on the other, such as idioms (Broeders 1987),
    collocations, and possibly even larger
    linguistically salient entities" (Sobkowiak, in
    press). Related vocalizing whole phrases and
    sentences in learner MRDs, now feasible through
    Text-to-Speech Synthesis).

Rules vs. lists (4)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • Phon/trans sensitive to frequency? "The first
    pronunciation given is believed to be the most
    usual one with some alternant forms rivalling
    the first-given in perceived frequency" (Roach
    Hartman 1997vi).
  • "Vowels in frequently-used words reduce more
    often than in relatively rarely-used words"
    (Fidelholtz 1975208).

Consistency (1)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • Intra- and inter-dictionary "Perhaps
    lexicographers should take a cue from political
    leaders, and organize a summit conference of
    dictionary editors, to attempt to agree at least
    on some common principles or procedures for
    indicating pronunciation" (Secrist 198238).
  • "Transcriptions are not thought of as one
    whole but are provided word after word"
    (Piotrowski 198745).
  • "It goes without saying that, whatever method of
    indicating pronunciation is adopted, it should be
    consistently and correctly used in the body of
    the work" (Abercrombie 1978124).

Consistency (2)
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • "To the familiar appeals for transcriptional and
    stylistic consistency of dictionary phonetic
    representations I would like to add mine for
    what, in need of a better term, I call
    phonological consistency. This consistency will
    normally result from conformity of
    representations with the established phonological
    rules of the language" (Sobkowiak 199798).
  • Transcriptional bi-uniqueness "konsequente
    eins-zu-eins Entsprechung Laut-Zeichen und
    Zeichen-Laut" (Ternes 1989512).
  • "If, however, one's goals are clarity, ease of
    recognition and speed of perception, then some
    compromise with strict phonemicity seems in
    order" (Secrist 198235).
  • Related consistency between transcription and
    recorded or synthesized audio in MRDs.

Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • Secrist (1978 and 1981) is against (automatic)
    respelling in ENL dictionaries. Paikeday (1993)
    is for, and against IPA.
  • Magay (1979103) "The international (and
    interlingual) character of the IPA system ought
    to be more generally recognised".
  • Broeders Hyams (1984166) "Re-spelling would
    obviously only be at all helpful if it were done
    in terms of the spelling conventions of the
    native language".
  • Gimson (1973120) "I would strongly recommend
    that we undertake research to discover the
    relative ease with which dictionary users can
    identify sounds by means of, say, IPA symbols as
    against respelling methods".

Pronunciation preference polls
Lexphon is nomological but phonlex is idiographic
  • "Unfortunately, I now regard the procedure which
    I employed to be suspect For one thing, I
    asked my British colleagues to record and order
    what they considered to be the current standard
    alternatives. For some this meant that they
    recorded variants possible in their own speech
    but for others it was a question of noting their
    impression of what others did" (Gimson 1973118).
  • "Such questionnaires seem to me unlikely to
    elicit from nonlinguist, nonphonetician
    questionees very much in the way of unguarded
    pronunciations, or very accurate symbolizations"
    (Artin 1973126).
  • "At first sight it may seem absurd to try to
    carry out a pronunciation survey by using a
    written questionnaire. It would certainly be
    unwise to ask people to report on their own
    pronunciation performance speakers are
    notoriously unreliable in reporting on their own
    speech. However this method is acceptable in a
    survey of pronunciation preferences" (Wells
    199910 1932 phonetically naïve subjects).

  • Many issues (activities, methods, hypotheses,
    analyses) in lexicography and metalexicography
    are crucially contingent on the choice of
    perspective (vide Wiegand 1998) lexiphonetic or
    phonolexicographic. The methodological character
    of the former is primarily nomological, that of
    the latter mainly idiographic. The tension
    between the two methodological perspectives is
    clearly visible in the dictionary treatment of
    pronunciation. There appears to be a growing
    bias towards rule-based approaches in this area.
    Dictionaries should benefit from this trend by
    avoiding (some of the) wild idiosyncrasies of
    earlier editions.

Thank you
11th International Symposium on Lexicography,
Copenhagen 2-4 May 2002
  • Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak
  • School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University
  • e-mail sobkow_at_amu.edu.pl
  • office web page http//elex.amu.edu.pl/ifa/staff/
  • private web page http//elex.amu.edu.pl/sobkow
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