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Bajan dictionary on wish list


WILLCOMM

Bajan dictionary on wish list

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A BARBADIAN dictionary has not yet been developed, but it is on the wish list of a Barbados-based scholar.

Research fellow in lexicography at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and director of the Richard and Jeanette Allsop Centre for Caribbean Lexicography, Dr Jason Siegel, said, however, that the process was costly and time consuming.

Siegel was speaking on the sidelines of a three-day 21st Biennial Conference of the Dictionary Society of North America, which opened yesterday at Accra Beach Hotel.

He said that Barbadian academics and others involved in the writing, editing or compiling of dictionaries, a process called lexicography, were feeling the effects of tightened finances, much like their overseas counterparts, which was one of the messages they wanted to communicate.

“Dictionary makers in the US complain about strapped budgets and budget cuts and lay-offs, so for us here who are in a less advantageous market we have to show them how challenging it is for us and the avenues that are available to them for expanding their coverage, expanding their reach and reaching out to the Caribbean in a way and give to Caribbean people dictionaries that actually represent and include them,” he said.

It was explained that getting a single dictionary right could be a multi-million endeavour.

Aside from dictionaries produced by some individual islands, there is a Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, which contains terms of the different islands, and a New Register of Caribbean English Usage.

Additionally, there is a Caribbean Multilingual Dictionary of Caribbean Fauna and Foods, which is in English, French, French Creole and Spanish.

Seigel maintained that lexicography was a slow and expensive process because of the challenges in coming up with definitions, necessitating the gathering of written and spoken evidence and maintaining a database.

The conference, being held outside North America for the first time, is being attended by almost 55 participants. (WILLCOMM)

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