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Rufus Gouws
Stellenbosch University 

Dictionaries need to reflect actual language use and should be planned and compiled for a variety of target user groups with different linguistic needs, different reference skills and different approaches to the challenges and possibilities of the prevailing media.

This paper takes a critical look at the interactive relation between the development of the lexicographic practice and lexicographic theory and the ways in which this development has responded to the dynamics of language and the changing needs, reference and technical skills of diverse user groups. Whilst some dictionariers still have to maintain their status as traditional containers of knowledge, the emergence of online reference sources compels lexicographers to new ways of data distribution and presentation. Metalexicography needs to provide models for the lexicographic practice that can successfully negotiate the interplay of contents, structures and functions.

The paper shows that the dynamics of lexicography should help to ensure proper ways of accommodating and reflecting the dynamics of language in dictionaries that adhere to a user-driven approach.

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