My interest in and fascination for dictionaries are growing bigger as the time goes by.

Ivana Filipović Petrović has participated in the first ELEXIS’ call for travel grants and is one of five winners of this first round. As an experienced lexicographer, she is working on completing the Croatian Dictionary of the Literary Language.

Her special task: to (retro)digitize and publish it online in order to computer-process its corpus. Read here, what she has to say:

© Ivana Filipović Petrović, PhD, 2018

How did you learn about the ELEXIS travel grants?

I actually saw the announcement about the travel grants on the website of ELEXIS. When I heard that access to Sketch Engine will be funded by the EU through the ELEXIS infrastructure project, I was curious about the project which made that possible, so I googled ELEXIS and saw the open call for travel grants.

I was reminded of the ELEXIS travel grants at the Euralex I attended in July in Ljubljana:

I gave a presentation at Euralex entitled Shades of word meanings in the Croatian Dictionary of literary language. One of the keynote speakers at the Euralex conference was Simon Krek, who presented the ELEXIS project and mentioned travel grants in his presentation.

What is your project about?

My project proposal focuses on the plan of (retro)digitization and online publication of the Croatian Dictionary of the Literary Language, as well as on computer processing of the corpus which this dictionary is based on.

One of the main values of this dictionary is that it is a rather unique socio-historical document of the Croatian lexicon as it existed in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

– But from the contemporary lexicography point of view even more important: it is a descriptive dictionary, which means that it records many idiosyncratic uses which tend to stay out of the scope of dictionaries, especially prescriptive dictionaries that are still predominant in Croatian lexicography.

In order to make this dictionary available open access via online publishing, the 14 printed volumes should be digitized and published online, and for the future work on the next volumes (T, U, V, Z and Ž) an integral corpus, a convenient dictionary writing system and an infrastructure for online publishing should be provided.

“Now we have the chance to improve our work
with sophisticated lexicographical tools
and make this remarkable dictionary available to users open access.”

What is your background that brought you up to this point?

I hold a Master’s Degree in Croatian language and literature and information science and a PhD in Croatian lexicography.

For the past ten years I have been one of three lexicographers on the team [i.e. of the Linguistics Research Institute of the Croatian Academy of Sciences] that works on completing the Croatian Dictionary of the Literary Language.

Through the years we have dealt with different kinds of obstacles such as incomplete corpora of literary works, confusing information written on paper slips, illegible handwriting on paper slips, etc., but our persistence was stronger and now we have the chance to improve our work with sophisticated lexicographical tools and make this remarkable dictionary available to users open access.

Where does your interest in languages/lexicography come from and what keeps you motivated?

I have been interested in language since elementary school, but lexicography came into the picture long after: It was a combination of my interest in language, especially word meanings and sense disambiguation, and a happy coincidence, that I was hired for a lexicographical project.

I started to work in the field of lexicography ten years ago and my interest in and fascination for dictionaries are only growing bigger as the time goes by. I love the fact that lexicography seeks different kinds of knowledge as well as the fact that as lexicographers we have to think about what users might have in mind when searching for words in a dictionary.

I truly believe in the projects that I am currently working on: Completing a historical dictionary based on literary citations and the corpus-driven born-digital Croatian dictionary of idioms are valuable and necessary in Croatian lexicography. That is what motivates me.

Profile: Ivana Filipović Petrović
Travel Grant Call 1
Period of stay 25.2.2019 – 8.3.2019
Project title (Retro)digitisation and online publication of the Croatian Dictionary of the Literary Language
Home institution Linguistics Research Institute of the Croatian Academy of Sciences #elexis_hr
Hosting institution Trier Center for Digital Humanities
(TCDH, Germany)
#elexis_de