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Lexicography as a philosophy of language

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  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


This article analyses the presuppositions about language upon which lexicography is built, and examines the linguistic ideologies to which dictionary projects in turn contribute. The contention is that dictionaries produce and reproduce specific and historically contingent beliefs about language, which are then co-opted into wider social and political practice such as the reification of national linguistic difference by national dictionary projects. To explore this contention, the article surveys the claims made by lexicographic projects and analyses the ways in which this ‘lexicographic ideology’ is invoked in a selection of political initiatives and philosophical works.

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