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What lexical factors drive look-ups in the English Wiktionary?

  • This study aims to establish what lexical factors make it more likely for dictionary users to consult specific articles in a dictionary using the English Wiktionary log files, which include records of user visits over the course of 6 years. Recent findings suggest that lexical frequency is a significant factor predicting look-up behavior, with the more frequent words being more likely to be consulted. Three further lexical factors are brought into focus: (1) age of acquisition; (2) lexical prevalence; and (3) degree of polysemy operationalized as the number of dictionary senses. Age of acquisition and lexical prevalence data were obtained from recent published studies and linked to the list of visited Wiktionary lemmas, whereas polysemy status was derived from Wiktionary entries themselves. Regression modeling confirms the significance of corpus frequency in explaining user interest in looking up words in the dictionary. However, the remaining three factors also make a contribution whose nature is discussed and interpreted. Knowing what makes dictionary users look up words is both theoretically interesting and practically useful to lexicographers, telling them which lexical items should be prioritized in lexicographic work.

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Author:Robert LewORCiD, Sascha WolferORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):SAGE Open
Place of publication:Thousand Oaks, CA
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2024
Date of Publication (online):2024/01/10
Publishing Institution:Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
Tag:Wiktionary; corpus frequency; dictionary; humanities; language studies; lexicography; log files; online dictionary
GND Keyword:Lexikografie; Logdatei; Online-Wörterbuch; Regressionsanalyse; Worthäufigkeit; Wörterbuch
Page Number:11
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Program areas:Lexik
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International