Grammar in Monolingual English Dictionaries - What kind of grammatical aspects/information can be found in monolingual dictionaries and why is it included

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Grammar in Monolingual English Dictionaries


Since grammar is a very important and essential part of learning and acquiring a foreign language, grammatical aspects and information can be found in almost every monolingual learner's dictionary. One might argue that it is not necessary to include such points in a publication whose main purpose is to supply the learner with definitions and meanings of words, when there are also own language books specially designed to help the student with grammar. Still it is indispensable to contain grammar related notes and data in learner's printed and online dictionaries. Therefore it is also of importance to get to know and understand how grammar is dealt with and used in dictionaries. Different publishers use different methods and approaches, which sometimes can be very confusing and misinterpreted.

The following pages will take a close look at how and why grammar is found in dictionaries, different systems and problems that occur.

Dictionaries vs. Grammar books

Some of the obvious differences between dictionaries and grammar books are the following: "a grammar has a running text that is not divided into unconnected paragraphs, and thus it can be read, not only consulted; it does not have a coded arrangement of entry-heads; its text is unambiguously about the language, not about the world; also, and probably as a consequence, it is meant for a narrower public than the dictionary" (Béjoint 2000, p. 27-28).

However, there are certain things that both types have in common. Both are needed for the acquisition of a language and they both contain metalinguistic descriptions with a didactic purpose and a general knowledge of the society.

Whereas linguists concentrate more on the distinction between grammar and the lexis of a language, lexicographers deal with the definition of what goes into a dictionary.

Some may find...