Types of dictionaries

Dictionaries are those written compilations that present, usually in alphabetical order, a large number of words and terms in order to define themexplain how they are written and pronounced, as well as what their etymologies are. In addition, there are types of dictionaries that include lists of synonyms and antonyms or the translation of the term in one or more other languages. Many times, these publications contain images, graphs, maps or plans, which help to understand the information and complete it.

Keep in mind that the aforementioned information is not included in all dictionaries, but there are specific publications for it. Generally, the following are identified dictionary classes:

(What is a dictionary. Types.)

Of the tongue: they are those that include a clear and neutral definition of the different concepts that are included in chronological order. These publications are not limited to including a single definition of each term, but rather take into account the different meanings they may have, which is why they are usually listed, placing the most used first. In addition, the dictionaries of the language can include, in those words that are accepted, their abbreviation. Also, it is very common that they present some sentence as an example, which includes the term, which facilitates its understanding and use. In addition, there are cases in which the word, when used in conjunction with another, acquires a new meaning, so this is also often made explicit. One of the most common within this category is the Royal Spanish Academy, also known as DRAE. This is made precisely by the Royal Spanish Academy since 1780 and became the most consulted and respected publication for the proper use of the Spanish language. An interesting detail of the DRAE is that it includes words that have fallen into disuse, but that can be extremely useful when reading an old text.

of synonyms and antonyms: In this type of dictionaries there are those that include lists of synonyms and antonyms, that is words with similar and opposite meaning, respectively, of the different terms that it includes. This publication turns out to be an extremely useful tool not only to enrich vocabulary, but it is also very necessary when writing. By means of them, the editor manages to introduce different concepts, avoiding the repetition of words or chatura.

etymological: these publications are the ones that detail the origin, meaning and forms of the words they include. This then becomes an interesting tool to learn about the history of words, which often have Greek, Latin and even Arabic origin. In the Spanish language, one of the most prestigious and consulted editions is that of Joan Corominas, known under the name of Spanish and Hispanic Critical Etymological Dictionarywhich was made in 1954.

Of languages: These are the publications that include how words are said in one or more other languages, which is why they are also known as multilingual. A must for those studying another language, these can include drawings that indicate the meaning of the words. In addition, not only do they present the different meanings or uses that words can have, but they usually contain examples, which allow the reader to better understand the use of words. Many editions usually include the different meanings that words can have when they are combined with others.

ideological: they are not presented in alphabetical order, as is the case in most cases. Instead, the terms are organized around semantic fields, that is, word families, without these having to be synonyms. Through the association of ideas, we start from general concepts until we reach particular terms. Through this mechanism, concepts that accurately express the idea that is being conveyed are suggested and shown. These publications are very useful tools not only to enrich vocabulary, but also to be able to express oneself with greater accuracy and precision on certain issues that require it. These dictionaries allow the reader to travel two paths, from the idea to the word or vice versa, from the word to the idea. One of the most prestigious editions within this category is the so-called The ideological dictionary of the Spanish language Vox.

encyclopedics: These are not limited to defining concepts but also present numerous biographical, scientific or economic data from different fields of culture and knowledge, such as biology, geography, history or politics, among many others. In this way, among the list of words you can find figures and characters from any time and area. They also include abundant information on different branches and artistic expressions throughout history. Technology, as well as science, are also taken into account by these publications. In the different editions, the different advances and most recent discoveries are added. Finally, the animal and plant worlds are also included in the knowledge that is part of the encyclopedic dictionaries. Until a few years ago, this type of dictionary was published every year to introduce updated information and was sold in volumes that were large and heavy. With advances in technology, computing and the Internet, many publishers chose to stop printing them and offer online or DVD versions, which allowed including infographics, videos, games, among other interactive material, which further enrich the information presented. . One of the most popular encyclopedias is the Hispánica, which was a fundamental tool for school students and is no longer printed, but can be found in its online version, just like the British one.

Thesaurus: they are those that present a list of terms that are associated with the one that the reader is consulting. Unlike those of synonyms, these include concepts that are associated directly or indirectly, and not necessarily with words that have the same meaning. In this way, a relationship is established between general and particular concepts, within the same family of words.

grammatical: This variety of dictionaries, unlike the vast majority, do not specialize in presenting lists of words with definitions or explanations, but instead have lists of grammatical structures. Through these, the reader can search for the different structures and find out about their forms and uses. They are extremely useful for people who are studying a language, since it allows them to understand, through examples – of incorrect and correct uses – and clear explanations, what the different structures consist of.

Biographical: These editions do not include terms, but names of recognized figures within different fields and periods. The objective of these is to review the personalities taking into account biographical data and emphasizing what they have stood out for and for what they have become recognized. They include from artists to scientists or athletes as well as specialists in different disciplines.

Visual: Through images and illustrations, they manage to explain the meaning of the consulted concepts. To do this, an image is placed and, by means of arrows or labels, its name is indicated. Visual dictionaries can be organized alphabetically or by subject, depending on the editions. Some of them place an image for each concept, while others indicate the different components of a certain image.

Synchronous: these publications define the words taking into account the use that society gives them in a certain period of time, although this has been changing its meaning throughout history.

diachronic: They are dedicated to making a specific and detailed analysis of the evolution of a word over a specific period of time. In this way, the meanings that the term has acquired throughout history are explained, according to the use that society has given it. In addition to this historical analysis, some versions include an etymological analysis, detailing the semantic and phonetic transformations of a given word. They are very useful when reading old texts or when you want to develop a certain concept in depth and alluding to its evolution throughout history, in order to fully understand it.

technicians: also known as thematic, they include definitions of concepts and words that are specific to a certain technique or science. Due to their specificity and depth, technical dictionaries are recommended for those people who are already internalized in the discipline in question. Some examples of this class of dictionaries are those of law, gardening, rhetoric or computing, among many others.

of doubts: These publications are very useful for those who need to know the true meaning of words or sentences that have lost their original meaning due to misuse by society. In this way, instead of explaining the popular use of the term, an attempt is made to clarify which is the appropriate meaning within a specific field.


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