Dictionaries for the Future – The Future of Dictionaries
Challenges for Lexicography in a Digital Society


From 26.11.2018 to 28.11.2018, eighteen specialists from the fields of dictionary research, practical lexicography, German as a foreign language, Italian Studies, translation science and empirical linguistics convened at Villa Vigoni on Lake Como for a workshop to discuss future challenges for lexicography. At the close of the event, they formulated the following 15 Villa Vigoni Theses on Lexicography.

  1. Dictionaries of the future are lexical or linguistic information systems in which existing lexicographic data are conflated, multilingualism and linguistic variety are entrenched, and which provide people, when they are confronted with gaps in their knowledge, with an answer as well as support in the writing and formulation processes of texts.
  2. Lexical information systems must become a significant topic of public discourse. Awareness of the fact that the respective online data available should provide the requisite high quality must be publicly nurtured.
  3. Practical lexicography must constantly be aware of its social responsibility and must strive for a comprehensive, pluralistic description of linguistic and factual realities. In the process, the demarcation between the subject area and the selective lexicographic prioritization must be rendered perceptible.
  4. As independent social institutions, universities and public research facilities must actively participate in critical discussions and evaluations regarding lexical information systems.
  5. Lexicographic amendments in online information systems must be chronicled and preserved so that they remain permanently available as well-documented evidence of academic processes.
  6. Lexicography requires partners and allies: the solutions and challenges for the lexicography of the future demand, with a view to European perspectives, an interdisciplinary exchange between research institutes, academies, publishing houses and other representatives of the private sector.
  7. One significant task for the lexicography of the digital future is the orderly conflation of data which has been generated automatically by text corpora and specifically processed as well as a user-orientated presentation. The social relevance of such information systems will be consolidated once the underlying corpora mirror the entire linguistic diasystem and are freely available to researchers.
  8. Dictionary research must be considered a cultural science which, through interdisciplinary projects, conflates practical lexicography, linguistics, computer science, book science and documentation science.
  9. In a modern information society, we require academic studies to advance a standardization process for metalexicographic core terminology, as a solid theory induces multifaceted improvements in practical lexicography.
  10. Academic lexicography should be increasingly visually creative and with regard to digital formats, it should venture into experiments, thereby availing itself of the interest of people in linguistic questions. State funding must concentrate on lexicographic innovations.
  11. Lexicographic projects should be oriented towards the specific needs of the users (towards the first language and the foreign language, towards translating et al.) as well as towards the users’ linguistic acts or communicative intentions, as language is the subject matter of lexicography and learning and understanding languages is a central competence in a globalised world.
  12. Academic findings regarding the use of lexicographic information systems as well as teaching practice and translation practice should be increasingly incorporated into the lexicographic process.
  13. Lexicography is called upon to develop concepts for a productive user participation in lexicographic information systems.
  14. The digital supply of data in the information systems of the future must be regarded as a significant means for ‘lifelong learning’ so that the critical use of resources can be established as a strategic key competence. This must also be firmly entrenched in the training and continued education of teachers.
  15. Lexicography requires pedagogical concepts in order to be able to accomplish the didactic implementation of lexicographic information systems. In the process, this should integrate the media competence of the users.

Text in German