Published: 13 September 2021

Writing with Dictionaries

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia, from the Centre for Translation Studies, delivered jointly with Professor Robert Lew the Hornby Lecture plenary on Lexicographic Support for Writing at the opening of the XIX Euralex conference on 7 September 2021.

The two main uses of dictionaries are (1) to help readers understand texts (language reception) and (2) to help writers use words grammatically and idiomatically (language production).  Most dictionaries attempt to cater for these two needs at the same time, but generally prioritize language reception. Information to support language production is generally secondary and harder to find in a dictionary entry. What is more, it can be disruptive for writers to stop writing to look up how to use a word in context.

In their talk, Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia and Prof Robert Lew argue that lexicographic support for writing should be integrated into text editors. They then present ColloCaid, a text editor that helps writers convert passive vocabulary into active vocabulary by providing on-the-fly reminders and suggestions of academic English collocations.

ColloCaid was developed with funding from UKRI. The prototype is free to use and is available at

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