THE PRINTABLE ONLINE TOURIST DICTIONARY –
HELPING THE TOURISTS AND SUPPORTING
Patrick LEROYER, Henrik Køhler SIMONSEN
Aarhus School of Business
Copenhagen Business School
Tourism is not only charter tourism. Today, tourists are well-educated and motivated by the
wish to experience the true identity of destination countries. Therefore, they need
encyclopaedic and intercultural and interlingual knowledge. A number of sources are
lexicographically structured to satisfy these needs, such as tourist guides with integrated
glossaries, phrase books, online glossaries, and dictionaries. The problem, however, is that
these tools are pragmatically designed, as no specific tourist dictionary theory has been used.
The theory developed and presented in this article is based on Tarp (2006) and on
2. Lexicographic strategies
There is a large difference between tourist dictionaries and travel dictionaries. Tourist
dictionaries should be designed to offer the user specific assistance in specific, social
situations, whereas the generic term travel dictionary does not say anything about the
character of these activities and needs. This distinction means that only lexicographically
relevant data types in specific tourist user situations should be included.
A second distinction should be made between lexicographically suited and unsuited
information types. Literary information is unsuited for lexicographic structuring and should
be satisfied by editorial genres (guides and magazines) or promotional genres (websites and
brochures), whereas other types of information (general background knowledge) are best
suited for presentation in traditional encyclopaedia and should not be included in dictionaries.
A third distinction should be made between communicative language needs, in which
dictionary assistance is very limited (to use lemmata to communicate), and cognitive language
needs, in which dictionary assistance is highly relevant (to acquire knowledge to learn). This
leads to minimizing and specialization strategies.
Finally, there is a distinction between dictionaries that are designed from a country of
origin (COO) perspective and dictionaries that are designed from a destination country (DC)
perspective. The DC perspective leads to localization strategies and to destination branding.
3. Language and knowledge needs
The contrastive language needs table below shows the language combinations in a COO/DC
perspective (9) being the most frequent.
COO DC Relevance of language assistance
(1) L1 L1 None
(2) L1second L1 None
(3) L1 L1 + L1 local variation Very limited
(4) L1 L1 + L1 close regional Depending on language policy
(5) L1 L1 + LX regional Depending on language policy
(6) L1 L1 + LX endangered Depending on language policy
(7) L1 L1 close national Depending on language policy
(8) L1 L1 close national + LXa + LXb + LXc… + LXn Depending on language policy
(9) L1 LX Strongly limited
(10) L1 + LX learn LX None
(11) L1 + LF LX + LF Depending on LF status
The knowledge needs table below shows the different types of tourist knowledge in relation
to lexicographic needs and relevance.
Knowledge type Lexicographic needs Lexicographic relevance
(1) General encyclopaedic - -
(2) Promotional - -
(3) Factual + +
(4) Cultural + +
(5) Practical + +
(6) Language (+) +
4. The Nicosia dictionary
We will illustrate the tourist dictionary theory by means of the ‘Nicosia dictionary’. This
dictionary could deal with the following language combinations (LO is the language spoken
in the COO).
COO users Language
1 Native speakers of Greek Greek variety
2 Non learners of Greek Selected LO languages
3 Non learners of Greek + Lingua Franca Lingua Franca
The dictionary should focus on the following knowledge combinations:
COO Destination knowledge
1 Cyprus Very high previous knowledge (all knowledge types)
2 Greece High previous knowledge (all knowledge types)
3 Other countries Previous general encyclopaedic knowledge and high promotional knowledge
In this article we will illustrate the following user profiles:
• Users Non learners of Greek
• Language LOa, b, c, d,… n
• Previous knowledge General encyclopaedic knowledge and promotional knowledge.
4.1 Communicative data types
The selection includes highly specialized LSP words and highly frequent LGP expressions.
• Lemma: La, b, c, d, …n LSP word or LGP expression
• Translation: Greek or Cyprus Greek equivalent (Latin and Greek spelling)
• Pronunciation: Adapted help for pronunciation (print) and sound file (online)
4.2 Cognitive data types
The selection includes a strongly limited number of specialized information categories.
• Encyclopaedic notes: La, b, c, d,…, n note written by destination expert
• Knowledge words: Greek words with comment on origin, meaning and use
• Knowledge links: La, b, c, d, …n links for further knowledge
4.3 Interface and data content
The dictionary’s interface could include the following options: Select metalanguage, Enter
stay period and location, Select language combination, Dictionary help, Print, Search in
information notes and Search in wordlist.
The selection of metalanguage should be available at the front page of the online tourist
dictionary as demonstrated here http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_index.asp.
In this article, the user is a British tourist without prior knowledge of Greek. He selects
the metalanguage and clicks the British flag. He consults the online tourist dictionary because
he has a cognitive need for information on a local cheese called halloumi, and consequently
he chooses cognitive lexicographic data (cultural information) in LOa to know more about
halloumi. However, he also wants to understand and to some extent pronounce relevant words
and phrases in connection with the local cuisine, and consequently he selects communicative
lexicographic data in the direction Cypriotic Greek-English. The next screen that the user
might see is http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_home.asp, and at the top of the screen, the user can
select the stay period (arrival and departure dates) relevant for his stay. In the horizontal
option bar he also selects location (in this case Nicosia) and language combination (Cypriotic
Greek and English, as he wants to be able to understand information in Cypriotic Greek about
the local gastronomic specialities. He can also consult the help menu (on content and
selection), select the layout of the dictionary print and print selected lexicographic
information in a handy and customizable format for the tourist to fold and carry around in his
pocket for example, and he can customize the interface by means of the dictionary
customization option. Finally, he can perform global searches in information notes and in
As will appear from http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_home.asp, the resources bar in the left
hand side of the screen features the following search fields and options:
Factual Lemmatized keywords – search for information on local events and policies (Nicosia
information concerts, exhibitions, etc.)
Cultural Lemmatized keywords – search for information on local culture (Nicosia traditions,
information gastronomy, etc.)
Practical Lemmatized keywords – search for information on local services (Nicosia doctors,
information pharmacies, etc.)
Words Lemmata – search for specialized Greek words
Expressions Lemmata – search for frequent Greek expressions (hello, goodbye, excuse me, thank
We still assume that the British tourist wants to access data on the local cuisine, and he
clicks the second option in this web page http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_cultural.asp. The option
Cultural information includes Art, Gastronomy, Traditions, Religion and Celebrations, and he
clicks Gastronomy to open http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_cultural_A.asp. From a list of words
he clicks the lemma “halloumi” and http://www.telelex.dk/SILF_cultural_B.asp is shown.
As will appear from this web page the lexicographic article features communicative and
cognitive lexicographic data. It shows the English lemma halloumi and the Cypriotic Greek
equivalent χαλλούµι. The article offers an online pronunciation feature, and the British tourist
can learn how to pronounce halluomi in Cypriotic Greek by clicking the loudspeaker icon.
The Cypriotic Greek equivalent is also written in English characters in parenthesis. The
article also contains the Turkish equivalent, which in this case is hellim. Now the
communicative needs of the British tourist have been met. As will also appear from the web
page in question the lexicographic article also contains cognitive lexicographic data in the
form of the Note and Links sections. As already argued above, the English tourist wanted to
know more about a local cheese called halloumi, and in the Note section he can learn more
about the lemma and most of his questions have already been answered. However, if he wants
to know more, he can consult the web sites relevant for this article.
This article discussed a theory on online tourist dictionaries. On the basis of the article and on
the dummy screen shots available at the Internet, we argue that the theory developed and the
system architecture outlined, show that it is in fact possible to design and develop modern
tourist dictionaries, which focus on the tourists’ needs for encyclopaedic knowledge and for
intercultural and interlingual knowledge. However, further research in the field of tourist
dictionaries is required.
Leroyer, Patrick & Simonsen, Henrik Køhler 2005: Contexte d'utilisation, contexte de
communication: la double identité du dictionnaire d'entreprise. In: Mots, Termes et Contextes,
Actes des septièmes Journées scientifiques du réseau de chercheurs, Lexicologie,
Terminologie, Traduction, Bruxelles, Belgique, 8-10 septembre, 2005, 283-298.
Tarp, Sven 2006 : Leksikografien i grænselandet mellem viden og ikke-viden. Generel
leksikografisk teori med særlig henblik på lørnerleksikografi. Doktordisputats, Aarhus:
Aarhus School of Business.