Free Institutional Internet References and the Language of Covid-19

  •  Silvia Cacchiani    


The present paper is concerned with the inclusion in free English-language institutional internet reference works of terms used to discuss health, disease, treatments and medical breakthroughs in the context of COVID-19. The focus is on the glossaries that are available on the websites of the UK Parliament and UK Government, i.e. on credible and authoritative platforms that are in various ways intended to serve as seats for asymmetrical transfer and mediation of knowledge about their operations and services (Engberg & Luttermann, 2014): Coronavirus (Covid-19) Definitions is the online interactive glossary published by the Office of National Statistics in 2022; the COVID-19 glossary is published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Cross-verification of wordlists and lexicographical treatment in selected dictionary entries is carried out vis-à-vis free and unlocked content from the Oxford Reference platform and the English Wiktionary. Integrating insights from the Function Theory of Lexicography (Bergenholtz & Tarp, 1995), and Wiegand’s (1977 ff.) Actional-Semantic Theory of Dictionary Form, we are able to demonstrate that Coronavirus (Covid-19) Definitions and the COVID-19 Glossary provide basic answers to the queries of lay users – which is in line with the government’s social responsibility to pursue health promotion, prevention of ill health and health protection.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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