: James A. H. Murray
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, The Evolution of English Lexicography by James A.H. Murray. Lexicography is divided by two related disciplines: Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries. Theoretical lexicography is the scholarly discipline of analyzing and describing the semantic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language, developing theories of dictionary components and structures linking the data in dictionaries, the needs for information by users in specific types of situation, and how users may best access the data incorporated in printed and electronic dictionaries. This is sometimes referred to as 'metalexicography'. A person devoted to lexicography is called a lexicographer. General lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of general dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that provide a description of the language in general use. Such a dictionary is usually called a general dictionary or LGP dictionary (Language for General Purpose). Specialized lexicography focuses on the design, compilation, use and evaluation of specialized dictionaries, i.e. dictionaries that are devoted to a (relatively restricted) set of linguistic and factual elements of one or more specialist subject fields, e.g. legal lexicography. Such a dictionary is usually called a specialized dictionary or LSP dictionary and following Nielsen 1994, specialized dictionaries are either multi-field, single-field or sub-field dictionaries. There is some disagreement on the definition of lexicology, as distinct from lexicography. Some use "lexicology" as a synonym for theoretical lexicography; others use it to mean a branch of linguistics pertaining to the inventory of words in a particular language. When the 'Act to facilitate the provision of Allotments for the Labouring Classes' was before the House of Commons in 1887, a well-known member for a northern constituency asked the Minister who had charge of the measure for a definition of the term allotment, which occurred so often in the Bill. The Minister somewhat brusquely told his interrogator to 'look in the Dictionary,' at which there was, according to the newspapers, 'a laugh.' The member warmly protested that, being called upon to consider a measure dealing with things therein called 'Allotments', a term not known to English Law, nor explained in the Bill itself, he had a right to ask for a definition. But the only answer he received was 'Johnson's Dictionary! Johnson's Dictionary!' at which, according to the newspapers, the House gave 'another laugh,' and the interrogator subsided. The real humour of the situation, which was unfortunately lost upon the House of Commons, was, that as agricultural allotments had not been thought of in the days of Dr. Johnson, no explanation of the term in this use is to be found in Johnson's Dictionary; as, however, this happened to be unknown, alike to the questioner and to the House, the former missed a chance of 'scoring' brilliantly, and the House the chance of a third laugh, this time at the expense of the Minister. But the replies of the latter are typical of the notions of a large number of persons, who habitually speak of 'the Dictionary,' just as they do of 'the Bible,' or 'the Prayer-book,' or 'the Psalms'; and who, if pressed as to the authorship of these works, would certainly say that 'the Psalms' were composed by David, and 'the Dictionary' by Dr. Johnson.