Introduction/ Organisation


17.10.06 Organisation


  • Why is a portfolio important?

    A portfolio is a collection of works to be used as a learner's diary and/ or a glossary. It is important to assess your learning outcome and to prepare for examinations.


  • What should a portfolio contain, and how are these components defined?

    A portfolio should contain a table of content, tasks and reports that you produce during the lecture or at home, brief summaries of the lectures and a glossary with all important technical terms.


  • Why should the portfolio be on a website?

    The portfolio should be on a website to have easier access and interaction than via paper or e-mail. In addition to that it helps you to become familiar with electronic media and provides a source of materials and tasks for the class. Further producing an online portfolio is a form of „Applied Linguistics“.


  • How do you make a website?

    There are various ways to create your own website. Firstly you can run your own web server, for example on a DSL line. Secondly you can use the university website. Thirdly you can use another web service provider or you can just use a blogging software and create your own web log.

  • What is a website?

    A website is an online hypertext document with embedded document objects as well as liked document objects and therefore a text.


  • What is a hypertext? Give examples!

    A hypertext document is a text either with conventional hierarchical parts or as a complex network of parts. Actually, every document in the world wide web is a hypertext.

    - electronic dictionaries like

    - blogs like

    - e- commerce sites like

    - Google



  • What is a text, what are its main properties?

    A text is a document, a novel as well as an advertisement, which consists of sentences or even only words.

    Its main properties are

    - appearance (the media (novel, newspaper, ...)

    - meaning (semantics, pragmatics)

    - structure (formulation)


  • Consequence for a linguistics theory of text?

    If you want to interpretate a text you do not only have to consider the appearance of a text but also the media and the structure.


  • How do these properties relate

    - to the mind

    In the world of the mind, the structure of a text depends on the sense and the semantic interpretation as well as the style and the media interpretation.


    - to the world

    In the shared world, semantics and pragmatics (the meaning of words and what you perform with them) produce a certain kind of media. In contrast to that, a text or the words in a text receive a certain meaning through the media they are used in.




Dictionaries are texts, documents

  • Take a look at dictionaries:

  • Structure:

    How is the dictionary, as a book, structured?

    - cover

    - abbreviations, symbols, ...

    - date of publication, acknowledgement, ...

    - content

    - foreword

    - key to dictionary entries

    - entries

    - irregular verbs

    - back page


  • What does the table of contents of a dictionary look like?


    key to dictionary entries

    entries (bilingual: English- German, German- English)

    irregular verbs


  • What are the parts of the book intended for?

    The key to dictionary entries helps you to understand the entries in the dictionary and to find the right entry as fast as possible.

    The entries are in an alphabetical order to help you find the right word as fast as possible.

    Tables like irregular verbs give you entra information and helps you to use the correct forms and to improve and check your English.


  • What is the “meaning” (= content) of a dictionary?

    A dictionary helps you to understand or to write texts in a foreign language. Further it can improve your vocabulary.


  • What kinds of “appearance” can a dictionary have?

    Most dictionaries are like paper books but there are also a lot of electronical dicitonaries.Most dictionaries are like paper books but there are also a lot of electronic dictionaries. Paper dictionaries can be very big in order to provide a full range of words or quite small to be taken everywhere but only with the most important words.


  • What is a dictionary?

    A dictionary is a list of words with their definitions, a list of characters or a list of words with corresponding words in another or the same language.


  • What is the difference between a semasiological dictionary and an onomasiological dictionary?

    A semasiological dictionary is also known as a reader's dictionary or decoding dictionary.

    A onomasiological dictionary, in contrast to that, is also known as a writer's dictionary or encoding dictionary.

  • What other kinds of dictionaries are there?

    - bilingual dictionaries

    - monolingual dictionaries

    - specializes (technical) dictionaries

    - picture dictionaries

    - minimizing/ maximizing dictionaries

    - character dictionaries

    - data dictionaries

    - glossaries



  • What is text theory?

    Text theory is the theory of interpretation and formulation of texts.


  • What is Text Linguistics?

    Text Linguistics is a branch of linguistics, that deals with texts as communication systems. Text linguistics takes into account the form of a text, but also its settings i.e. the way in which it is situated in an interactional, communicative context. Both the author of a (written or spoken) text as well as its addressee are taken into consideration in their respective (social and/or institutional) roles in the specific communicative context. In general it is an application of linguistic analysis at the much broader level of text, rather than just a sentence or word. (


  • What is Applied Text Linguistics?

    Whereas theoretical linguistics is concerned with finding and describing generalities both within particular languages and among all languages, applied linguistics takes the results of those findings and applies them to other areas. Often applied linguistics refers to the use of linguistic research in language teaching, but results of linguistic research are used in many other areas, as well. (


Types of dictionaries


Types of dictionaries

Prepare in groups

  • What are dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias...“language”?

    A dictionary is a list of words with their definitions, a list of characters, or a list of words with corresponding words in other languages.

    A lexicon is usually a list of words together with additional word-specific information, i.e., a dictionary. Lexicon is a word of Greek origin meaning vocabulary. When linguists study the lexicon, they study such things as what words are, how the vocabulary in a language is structured, how people use and store words, how they learn words, the history and evolution of words, types of relationships between words as well as how words were created.

    An encyclopedia, encyclopaedia or (traditionally) encyclopædia, is a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge (

  • What kinds of dictionaries are there?

    - bilingual dictionaries

    - monolingual dictionaries

    - specializes (technical) dictionaries

    - picture dictionaries

    - minimizing/ maximizing dictionaries

    - character dictionaries

    - data dictionaries

    - glossaries


  • How would you find the “best” English dictionary?

    The „best“ English dictionary would be one that helps to always find the correct translation and the correct use in a sentence. I should give you examples to find the correct translation but also some extra information for example whether it is an irregular verb or an uncountable noun. The dictionary should include everyday language as well as colloquial language as well as technical terms.


  • Task: Set up a questionnaire of questions about dictionaries, and ask 3 people to respond to it before next week.

    1. Which dictionary do you use most frequently?

    2. Why do you think it is the best dictionary?

    3. What do you think could be improved to make it even better?

    4. What problems did you have using a dictionary?

24. 10. 2006 Defining definition


24. 10. 2006

On defining „Definition“

  • Presentation of Class Topics

    - Introduction, text theory

    - Defining “definition”

- The architecture of a dictionary

- Dictionaries as databases:

spreadsheet & database (Toolbox) implementations

- Types of lexical information

Word forms: orthography, phonology

    Word meanings: lexical semantics

    - Word structure: morphology and syntax

    - Idioms

  • Discussion on last week's homework (Types of dictionaries)

    - everyone has a paper dictionary but a lot of people use electronic ones

    - there are a lot of different kinds of dictionaries

    - there is no „best dictionary“ -> depends on purpose

  • The Meaning of a Dictionary: Information

    - dictionary information –> metadata

    -> types of lexical information

    • -> Form, Structure, Content

    • Basic definition types

    • Good definitions:

    Standard dictionary definition: X is a Y kind of Z.

    Contextual definition

    Recursive definition

    Real definition:

    ostensive definitions

    models (e.g. the text/information model)

    Bad (but sometimes unavoidable) definitions:

               circular definitions 

    • Standard dictionary definition

    Definitio per genus proximum et differentia specifica

      - definition by nearest kind and specific differences


    Quiz and Tasks

    • What are the main kinds of information in a dictionary?

      - Text stucture, formulation, syntax

      - Content, meaning (semantics, pragmatics)

      - Appearance, rendering, modality, media


    • Give examples of

      FORM information

      - appearance, rendering, media, modality

      STRUCTURE information

      - formulation, syntax, sentence structure

      CONTENT information

      - translation of a word, meaning, semantics, pragmantics


    • What is the main kind of information which dictionary

    users are generally interested in?

      - translation of a word

      - spelling


    • Find dictionary definitions of 5 different words of different

    parts of speech, and

    give examples of genus and differentia specifica

      - give examples of other kinds of definition : enumeration of hypernyms

    • House: a building in which people live, residence for human beings

    • dark: having very little or no light

    • she: the female person or animal being discussed or last mentioned

    • to listen: to give attention with the ear, attend closely for the purpose of hearing, give ear

    • over: above in front or position




    • Components of definitions

      POODLE: a dog with thick curly hair

      a dog: generus proximum

      with thick curly hair: differencia specifica

    • genus proximum hierarchy (tree structure)

    = taxonomy

    • poodle/ terrier -> dog -> animal ...

    • Taxonomies used in many contextes

      - cross references in Standard definitions

      - thesaurus

    • Elements of Definitions

      - genera proxima

      - definition by enumeration of hyponyms

      - definition by negation of co- hypernyms


    • Recursive definitions

    • ostensive definitions

    • models (and metaphors)

      Models are ostensive definitions, in that they are intended to help us understand something with reference to reality, except that the pointer to a segment of reality is replaced by

    - an iconic representation

    - of a segment of reality

    - which is simplified, stylised, idealised,

      - and has artefactual properties not shared by reality.


      Metaphors are verbal models, except that their relation to reality is in general much more subjective.

    • Definition of „Definition“

      an explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase, the act of stating the meaning of words and phrases

    • Definition of „Explanation“

      a statement, fact or situation that tells you why something happened. A reason given for sth. A statement or piece of writing that tells you how sth works or makes sth easier to understand.


    • Long-term homework

    Give detailed examples, from at least 3 different kinds of

    dictionary, of:


    types of lexical information for 3 different kinds of

    lexical entry

    Create definitions by nearest kind and specific

    differences for:

    hip-hop, love, lasagna

    Describe in detail what is the reality and what are

    artefacts in

    3 of the models discussed in the section on models

    in the text model given in the Text Theory introduction

31. 10. 2006 Revision


31. 10. 2006 Revision

Properties of a text

  • Pragmatics: the use of a word, interaction between people

  • structure: organization to express the meaning

  • sense: creation of meaning

  • formulation/ structure: would you begin a story with the end?

  • Shared world: knowledge we have in common, communicate about

  • the world of the mind: activity in our mind (truth, humour, ...)

Meaning of a dictionary

  • information about words

use of language

  • object language

  • talk about language itself -> meta language

defining definitions

  • definiendum: what has to be defined

  • definiens: semantic definition

  • contextual definitions: you give the definition by putting a world in a context

  • recursive definition:

  • refers to itseld

  • base condition

  • recursive definition

  • exclusive definition

  • an ancestor is a parent or a parent of an ancestor“

  • a natural number is a natural number plus one“

  • ostensive definition: definition by showing

  • models and metaphors: representation of reality

  • icon: resembles their meaning

  • model: looks like it represents