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Five years of digital innovation for dictionaries – Michael Rundell

Macmillan Education

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 from 15:00 to 16:00 (GMT)

Five years of digital innovation for dictionaries –...

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Dictionaries are now part of 'Search' – the way we use the Web for finding information of any kind. Most people who arrive at the Macmillan Dictionary come directly from Google or other search engines – often without even specifying 'Macmillan'. But we’d like them to keep coming back, because the Macmillan site has so much to offer. Whether you’re a teacher or learner of English, or you need to use English in your job or for your studies, the Macmillan Dictionary is a one-stop shop that caters for all your reference needs.

The dictionary provides a complete range of lexical data in a learner-friendly form. Corpus linguistics has transformed our understanding of how language works, so the focus of our dictionaries is not just the individual word but the way words come together to create meanings and make sentences. Definitions are backed up with examples of usage and with everything you need to know about a word’s collocations and syntactic behaviour, and about the kinds of text in which it’s most at home. And being online means we can keep the dictionary bang up to date (I’ll show some examples of what has changed in our latest update).

But the dictionary is just one part of what’s on offer. As well as an intelligent thesaurus, there’s a range of games to hone your language skills, a weekly BuzzWord column with in-depth discussion of emerging trends in English vocabulary, and our crowd-sourced Open Dictionary where you can make your own mark on the language. The Macmillan Dictionary Blog, with four or five new posts every week, is read by thousands of people – not surprisingly, as it covers a huge variety of language topics, from metaphor and pragmatics, to language change and Englishes round the world. Whether you want to know the difference between it's up to you and it's down to you, or you need advice on avoiding common errors, look no further than our blog. An active Facebook page and Twitter feed complete the package. A third of our users are viewing our site from their phone or tablet, so we have optimised the dictionary to look good whatever device you’re using. And – like the English language – we don't stand still, so whenever you visit the site, you'll always find something new.  

About the presenter: Editor-in-Chief Michael Rundell has been in the dictionary business since 1980. After working at Longman and COBUILD, he came to Macmillan in 1997 to start a programme of dictionary development. He was part of the team that created the British National Corpus, and has been at the forefront of applying leading-edge language technologies to the analysis of corpus data and compilation of dictionaries. He is deeply involved in the new lexicographic revolution – the migration of dictionary resources from print to digital media. He has taught lexicography and lexical computing on university courses and in shorter workshops, and is co-author of the Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography.

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Macmillan Education

Macmillan Education is an international publisher, specialising in English language teaching (ELT) and curriculum publishing.

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