Lexicography is either of two things
- Theoretical lexicography is the scholarly discipline of analyzing and describing the semantic relationships within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language. This is sometimes referred to as metalexicography.
A person devoted to lexicography is called a lexicographer.
General lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of general dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that provide a description of the language in general use. Such a dictionary is usually called a general dictionary or LGP dictionary . Specialized lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of specialized dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that are devoted to a (relatively restricted) set of linguistic and factual elements of one or more specialist subject fields, e.g. legal lexicography. Such a dictionary is usually called a specialized dictionary or LSP dictionary.
There is some disagreement on the definition of lexicology, as distinct from lexicography. Some use "lexicology" as a synonym for theoretical lexicography; others use it to mean a branch of linguistics pertaining to the inventory of words in a particular language.
It is now widely accepted that lexicography is a scholarly discipline in its own right and not a sub-branch of linguistics.
Most English lexicographers would find interest in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755). He famously defined a lexicographer as "A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words".
Introductory books on lexicography:
- Landau, Sidney, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, 2nd ed., 2001
- Bergenholtz, Henning/Tarp, Sven (eds.): Manual of Specialised Lexicography, 1995
- Bejoint, Henri, Modern Lexicography: An Introduction, 2000
- Hartmann, R. R. K., Teaching and Researching Lexicography, 2001
- Hartmann, R. R. K., Dictionary of Lexicography, 1998
- Nielsen, Sandro: The Bilingual LSP Dictionary, 1994
- Ooi, Vincent Ooi, Computer Corpus Lexicography, 1998 http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/ell/Vincent/
- Jonathon Green, "Chasing the Sun - Dictionary-Makers and the Dictionaries They Made," Pimlico, ISBN 0-7126-6216-2
See also: Monolingual learner's dictionary
- Centre for Lexicography
- International Journal of Lexicography
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Euralex - European Association for Lexicography
- Afrilex - African Association for Lexicography
- Australex - Australian Association for Lexicography
- Nordic Federation for Lexicography