Ordfrekvens och ordboksutrymme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


In a linguistic description there is normally a more or less conspicious lack of balance between the space a phenomenon requires to be fully described and its frequence in actual language usage, here called a lack of iconicity. The article investigates to what degree some Danish and Swedish dictionaries are iconical in this sense, i.e. whether the space of a word in the dictionary corresponds with its actual frequence. As expected, iconicity is rather meager, the most frequent words being treated much shorter than there actual frequence would suggest and the less frequent ones the other way around, though the more comprehensive the dictionary the more iconical it normally is regarding the first category. Further, frequent nouns and adjectives can be shown to exhibit a more iconical description than frequent verbs, and compounds and derivations treated together with their base words often exhibit a (shorter and thus) more iconical description than those treated as their own entries (often iconically much too extensive). Iconicity is of course not the overall ideal state of good dictionary entries: frequent form words are often best treated rather generalized (and thus rather shortly), some less frequent words can only be described accurately if described rather extensively. Yet, it is argued that iconicity should not be dismissed alltogether but to be considered as one factor (among many other ones) when deciding upon how much space a word is worth in a dictionary.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • dictionaries, space of description, word frequency, iconical
Original languageSwedish
Title of host publicationNordiska studier i lexikografi 11
EditorsBirgit Eaker, Lennart Larsson, Anki Mattisson
PublisherNordiska föreningen för lexikografi
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-91-85333-42-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch
EventElfte konferensen om lexikografi i Norden - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2011 May 242011 May 27

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0803-9313


ConferenceElfte konferensen om lexikografi i Norden

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Swedish (015011001)