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Do I need to look up a dictionary in the Internet age?

来源:光明日报 September 06, 2019 15:20 Source: Guangming Daily

These days, when the news of the Modern Chinese Dictionary App is about to go online, no one is surprised, but some people think that its digitization is a bit slow-today, there are so many dictionaries and encyclopedias on the Internet, which are used to searching online People are even unfamiliar with paper dictionaries. Compared with other paper books, the digitalization and network of dictionaries are more urgent.

The "Internet gene" of the dictionary seems to be innate. For online reading, people often have "fragmentation" worries, and dictionaries are composed of many "fragmentation" entries, and they are also used by people for "fragmentation" retrieval. Because of the digitization and the Internet, dictionary retrieval has become unprecedentedly simple: you don't need to know the four-corner numbers, you don't need to disassemble the radicals, and you don't have to wonder how many strokes a word has, just put that word and that word into the search box. With a click of the mouse, ancient sounds, modern sounds, ancient meanings, modern meanings, example sentences and even translations can be presented at the same time.

With the digitization and the Internet, the revision and updating of dictionaries has become easier. Important dictionaries, from "Ci Hai" to "Modern Chinese Dictionary", whether they explain ancient words or include current words, most of them need to be constantly revised, sometimes to correct errors, sometimes to absorb new knowledge. For a paper dictionary, the revision cycle is as short as three or five years, and as long as more than ten years. So long waiting, when the new edition comes out, some of the original knowledge has become old news. Faced with only 10% or 20% updates, the remaining 90% or 80% of the new version of the dictionary should be purchased intact? Readers often struggle with this. Transplanting dictionaries to the Internet can not only achieve updates anytime, anywhere, but also avoid that 90% or 80% of repeated consumption. Embrace the Internet and change the communication ecology and compilation ecology of dictionaries. A few years ago, the Xinhua Dictionary had App and WeChat mini-programs. A few years ago, the Oxford English Dictionary announced that it would no longer publish a paper version.

However, the question that comes with it is: Although the Internet needs dictionaries to dictate, does the Internet need to dictate?

The Internet world linked by search engines is a huge knowledge base, which may also be regarded as a dictionary. Although extremely rich, it is also extremely messy. Even if you are looking for a smaller online encyclopedia, due to the "open compilation", out of the popular encyclopedia entries, you will encounter difficulties in authenticity. When you enter a keyword and get thousands of results, the time and effort it takes to read and identify one by one may sometimes make you feel that it is better to check an authoritative and sophisticated paper dictionary.

The collection of many seemingly "fragmented" items is tantamount to describing a knowledge system. In a field of knowledge, how to refine and filter entries, how to arrange, how to interpret, requires the literacy of this professional field, and the knowledge of dictionary compilation is inseparable. When Han Shen edited Shuo Wen Jie Zi, he paid particular attention to "respectively separate residences, not mixed toilets." When the editor listed the Chinese characters with "忄" here and the Chinese characters with "艹" listed there, in fact, it was not only "respectively separated" for easy reference, but also revealed those among the same radical Chinese characters. Mutual relationship.

Lu Deming of the Tang Dynasty praised Erya as "the path to the real nine streams, the guide to the Baishi. Know the name of birds, animals, plants, and people who are well-experienced and not confused." "Expo without confusion" may be the advantages of a carefully compiled dictionary to the Internet.

After thousands of years of development, with the "Internet gene" dictionary, finally, the fertile soil of the Internet should grow better and faster. When the big tree of the Internet Dictionary is soaring, the weeds growing under its feet will naturally not obscure our eyes.


(Responsible editor: Shi Lan)

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