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Lexicography and Open Access Web Based Dictionaries for Languages with Few Speakers
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015, Date de fin: 31 août 2018 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Open access web-based dictionaries are paramount tools in the battle to preserve linguistic diversity in the digital age. In an effort to sustain the local language, the University of Iceland (UoI) developed a high quality web-based lexical database, counting some 50.000 words and expressions with numerous illustrations and examples. Open access dictionaries online towards Danish, Swedish and Norwegian have already been developed in cooperation with Nordic universities. The specificity of the ISLEX database resides in the fact that it can be used both ways. As an example, one can search for a Norwegian word in the Icelandic-Norwegian dictionary, something that cannot be done in a traditional dictionary. This feature will be further developed in order to reverse the dictionaries, thus enhancing their usefulness. The LEXIA project will build on the Nordic experience to expand it to more languages, starting by French. In parallel, the ground will be laid to launch cooperation agreements with universities in Spain and in Germany. The dissemination of expertise also involves organizing courses on MA-level in theoretical lexicography in the partner universities. Finally, while this is not an immediate concern of the project, the partner universities would welcome any opportunity to dispense knowledge on building lexicographical databases, in particular for languages spoken by few. The main responsibility and project management will be in the hand of the UoI and the two research centres involved in the project: The Árni Magnússon Institute of Icelandic Studies is the main platform of the project. The ISLEX lexicographical database was developed within the institute and its lexicographical team will be central in the work, dispensing technical support and linguistics consulting. The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages is the managing partner of the project. The institute, in cooperation with the partner universities, will establish the target language team and organize courses in theoretical lexicography on MA-level at the UoI and at the University Paris-Sorbonne (UPS). The University of Gothenburg (UGOT) will play a crucial role as the consulting member of the overall project. The Swedish partners worked with the Icelandic team on the ISLEX Icelandic-Swedish dictionary and their know-how will be useful for expanding the project to other languages. Their experience will also be appreciated in designing and carrying out the courses in lexicography. The UGOT will lead a starting seminar with the lexicographical team and will intervene in the various phases of the project, dispensing their expertise as needed, in particular in the field of bilingual lexicography of today. The university´s research on the fundamental changes of the discipline brought on by the new electronic media brings added value to the project. The UPS has a section of Germanic and Nordic Studies where Icelandic is among the languages taught. As a pilot project was conducted with success in 2014 and as the French State has given a grant to the continued work, the Icelandic-French dictionary is an obvious starting point. At a later stage, Spanish and German will be added as target languages. Hence, the specialists of Spanish and German linguistics and lexicography at the UoI will be involved from the start with the aim to build expertise for subsequent use in cooperation with their target language partner universities. While the daily work will consist of the building of lexicographical entries, the scientific research part of the project involves attempts to extend the lexicographical database to include phraseological entries. In addition, the team will complete the description of the source language material, adapting it to the function of target language when the dictionary is reversed. The lexicographers are: Halldóra Jónsdóttir, Project Manager, UoI Þórdís Úlfarsdóttir, Editor, UoI Rósa E. Davíðsdóttir, PhD candidate in French lexicography at the UPS and the UoI (co-tutelle) Jean-Christophe Salaün Translator Anna Hannesdóttir, Professor, Head of the Centre for Lexicology and Lexicography, UGOT Karl Gadelii, Professor of Scandinavian Linguistics, UPS Sylvain Briens, Professor of Scandinavian Literature and Cultural History, UPS Erla Erlendsdóttir, Associate Professor of Spanish, UoI Oddný G. Sverrisdóttir, Professor of German, UoI The team members will meet once or twice a year for working meetings or working seminars. What makes the LEXIA project different from other initiatives in this area is the malleable nature of a single web-based lexicographical database which renders it expandable ad aeternam, both in terms of the width and depth of the lexicographical database and in terms of the number of target languages that can be included. In addition, the high quality products are and will be in open access as the project is not for profit, but with the deliberate agenda to promote linguistic diversity.



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