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American Corner Talk : Dr. Radia Benzehra on Lexicography


Dr. Radia Benzehra gave a talk on lexicography; a discipline and profession that remains unknown to the general public. Lexicographers do not sit in sleek conference rooms and make the language. Dictionaries are a painstakingly accurate record of the language as it is used. Dr. Radia explained the steps followed in Dictionary compilation and showed the programs used for this purpose. Dr. Radia worked as a lexicographer (commonly known as dictionary editor) on the new Oxford English-Arabic/ Arabic-English Dictionary which was published last year. She explained that Arabic dictionaries have important effects on the development of the Arabic language. Arabic dictionaries continue to resist the slightest reform as to the codification of lexical innovations and the treatment of lexical gaps. Today, English-Arabic dictionary editors have to deal with a huge number of lexical gaps that have cumulated over time.
On a more personal note, Dr. Radia has “always been intrigued by words and their complex structure; [her] attention then turned to dictionaries themselves.” She wanted to know how these books are written and who writes them. “Dictionaries helped me learn English;” later they became the subject of her attention and interest. According to Dr. Raida, “a love of words does not guarantee that one will excel at lexicography which is why I moved to the United States and took the principles of lexicography from an expert lexicographer: Dr Don Mccreary.”
“I encouraged students to pursue their passion as it can take them to fascinating places!”
Dr. Radia Benzehra is originally from Algeria, where she completed a BA in English and an MA in Linguistics and Translation Studies. Later, she moved to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. Dr. Benzehra received  a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Georgia (USA). She is currently Chair of English Language Department at ALHOSN University.


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