How to write a dictionary

EMLex students
Daniele, Taguhi and Alka study EMLex at FAU. Pictures: Tith Khamissara/ Seda Vardanyan/ Lucie Benoit.

Students on why they chose to study lexicography

Since 2009 students at FAU can choose to study the European Master in Lexicography (EMLex). Since 2016 the program has been offered in a special format: as an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree. This means several cooperating universities around the world work together to offer the degree. Students choose a home university where they spend their first and last semester. They are free to spend the third semester individually at one of the partner universities. The entire EMLex cohort, however, spends their second semester the same university; this year, they’ve all come to Erlangen to study at FAU.

We talked to some of the students about their choice, what they like about their course and the city.

Of theory and practice

EMLex student Alka
Alka from Croatia appreciates the mix of theory and praxis the program offers. Picture: Lucie Benoit.

“I grew up surrounded by books. My father has an extensive library, including many dictionaries,” Alka tells us when we ask about the reason she chose the EMLex program. She continues to tell us what caused her to make the final decision. “When I heard about the program, I was drawn to it because it offers the chance to spend time at different European universities, that was appealing. My home university is in Rome. Currently we are doing our second semester. Usually, this would be when we meet each other in person for the first time but unfortunately that’s not an option right now. The support we get online is still awesome, though.” When asked about course contents, she says the program keeps her and her fellow students quite busy. “Lexicography has surprisingly many sub-fields, some of them theoretical, others practical in nature. One week we’re learning about methodology and different parts of dictionaries, the next we’re working hands-on in the field of computational lexicography.”

EMLex student Taguhi
Taguhi from Armenia hopes she’ll be able to contribute to the field of lexicography in her home country after her studies. Picture: Seda Vardanyan

Building new fields of study

“In Armenia, lexicography isn’t a field that’s getting much recognition. There are few online dictionaries, but there is an organization working to change that. I interned with them, and thought this work was very fascinating and rewarding. Through my work with them, I could contribute to making dictionaries more widely accessible,” Taguhi tells us about her motivation. “I like studying EMLex because with the knowledge I gain on the course, I can help build a more extensive field of study at home.”  There are many aspects of the subjects she finds interesting. “Lexicography is very interdisciplinary, there are many subfields; it’s not all about the dictionary and its components.” The semester she is spending in Erlangen is not her first time to visit Germany. “Before I became part of the EMLex family, I had the opportunity to study in Halle-Wittenberg as part of my undergraduate degree. What’s different about EMLex, in comparison to a regular semester abroad, is that the course is so multinational. I’m learning a lot about different cultures from the other students.”

EMLex student Daniele
Daniele from Brazil studied translation before joining the program. Picture: Tith Khamissara.

Terminology meets dictionary

“I started out in translation and via that I found my way into lexicography. It’s such a good fit because I love working with terminology and technical language. Studying EMLex means a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding to learn about so many different things,” Daniele tells us. Since arriving, she has settled down and likes exploring the Nuremberg area. “Starting the program was a bit complicated, because traveling from Brazil to Budapest, which is where my home university is, was tricky because of Corona constrictions. The support I have gotten has been wonderful, though, and there’s always somebody to speak to if I have questions. I arrived in Nuremberg in the beginning of February and have been talking a lot to the other students from all over the world since then, if only via Zoom.” This is already her second time she’d visiting the university: “I’ve been at FAU before for an exchange term during my translation degree. I’m happy I get the chance to come back to the university once more.”


More Information:

Find out about the EMLex program in Erlangen, admission and scholarships available.