The Poly Code Character of the English Learners’ Dictionaries

Author: Yuliia

Keywords: learners’ dictionary, lexicographical entry, poly code communicative phenomenon


The paper deals with one of the most relevant questions of semiosis in English lexicography. The article studies the mechanism of double encoding a message (verbally and pictographically) to optimize the perception, processing, and storage of information by the user of the dictionary. The aim of the given research is to determine the features of an English poly code dictionary entry as a communicative phenomenon of educational lexicography. The study is based on five lexicographic sources, traditionally called the big five. The research material includes 1640 poly code entries. The article suggests a new interpretation of a poly code entry as a threefold unity of a lemma (the headword), a verbal definition, and a picture. These three constituents jointly name, interpret, and visualize the meaning of a dictionary entry. The article also analyzes the configuration of a poly code entry informational potential in terms of increasing/decreasing of the information presented by the iconic constituent in comparison with the verbal one. The research proves that the whole set of poly code dictionary entries reflects a particular view of the world characterized by absolute anthropocentricity and specific Anglo-Saxon bias. The results of the performed research are significant for English language teaching and learning as they prove that pictographic illustrations that accompany verbal explanations are not purely ornamental. They optimize the readers’ activity of searching, understanding, and memorizing the necessary information.