Law dictionary

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A law dictionary is a dictionary, i.e. a reference work, that has been designed and compiled to give information about the field of law.

It is possible to distinguish between different types of law dictionaries. A monolingual law dictionary covers one language, e.g. an English law dictionary, and a bilingual law dictionary covers two languages, e.g. an German-English law dictionary.

A distinction may also be made as to its coverage. A law dictionary that covers the entire field of law is called a single-field dictionary, whereas a dictionary that covers a part of the field of law is called a sub-field dictionary, e.g. a dictionary of contract law. If the law dictionary attempts to cover all the terms in the field of law, its is called a maximizing dictionary, and if it attempts to cover only a limited number of terms, it is called a minimizing dictionary.

A good bilingual law dictionary needs to take the users' expected language and professional competences into account. The lexicographers therefore need to consider the following aspects: dictionary user research, dictionary typology, structure and presentation of the relevant information. When making a law dictionary, the lexicographers attempt to present the information in such a way that the user is not burdened with excessive lexicographic information costs.

[edit] Relevant literature

  • Sandro Nielsen: The Bilingual LSP Dictionary. Principles and Practice for Legal Language. Gunter Narr Verlag 1994.

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