Testing and its implications in lexicography: A case study of corpus creation in Dhopadhola
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“Testing and its implications in lexicography: a case study of corpus creation in Dhopadhola” is a lexicographical study that demonstrates how a generated language corpus can be used to create more reliable, verifiable and linguistically justifiable dictionaries in largely undocumented languages. It implicitly shows the weaknesses of traditional lexicographical approach to dictionary making vis-à-vis a corpus-based method. The word ‘corpus’, in this dissertation, is used to refer to any collections of both written and spoken texts in a language which represent a particular way people speak or write it. Data was collected from two sources: day-to-day speech which constituted the spoken corpus; and written texts that comprised the written corpus. ‘Traditional approach’ to lexicography study in undocumented languages entails the anthropological field methods of dictionary making that involve researchers using their own linguistic competence in the target language; applying question and answer approach and interviewing particular informants to provide wordlists with their meanings. The ‘corpus-based approach’ on the other hand uses corpora – written and spoken body of texts – in specific languages to study various aspects of languages. This study argues that it is easier and perhaps more insightful to make decisive judgments on lexicographical issues related to various aspects of a general-purpose dictionary through a corpus-based approach than through the anthropological field methods. The problem identified in this study is how to decide core and defining vocabulary, orthography and resolve dialectal issues in a dictionary of a largely spoken language, for instance Dhopadhola. The study proposes that establishing a corpus from both oral and spoken sources can solve any evident disparities. The main objective of this investigation was to test and propose workable solutions to lexicographical questions related to the writing of a general-purpose dictionary in Dhopadhola using a corpus-based approach. The research is based on the hypothesis that it is possible to write a general-purpose dictionary of a largely undocumented language using a corpus database.