Skip to main content

Between foreignism and purism

In every situation where lexicographers have to work with asymmetric bilingualism, they are forced to make the choice between accepting and rejecting the influence that the great, dominant language has on the small, weaker language. In short, the lexicographer often has to choose between the more established loanword and the less common purism. Frisian lexicography has many examples of this.

The social position and status of a small language is determined by the number of speakers of that language, the state in which the language speakers live, the form of government, the economic and political situation and the history. These aspects also influence the possibilities and impossibilities of a relevant bilingual lexicography.

This theme was the subject of a conference on 'The Role of Lexicography in Standardization and Purification of Lesser Used Languages', which was organized in April 2015 by the Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden, an institution that itself is involved in the lexicography of the Frisian language. After the conference, the speakers adapted their lectures into articles. These articles have now been published in a special issue of the International Journal of Lexicography.

The special issue, under guest editing by Frits van der Kuip and Willem Visser, brings together contributions on lexicographical issues in Frisian, Basque, Estonian, Flemish sign language, Irish Gaelic and Welsh.

Go to: