[Oct 2016] You can watch development of TLex and tlTerm on our informal live-streaming channel »

Simultaneous Feedback (SF) and Fuzzy SF

Since 1997 Gilles-Maurice de Schryver is working out a methodology whereby the results of studies of actual dictionary use are directly integrated into the compilation of a reference work. Feedback from the envisaged target user group is systematically and continuously obtained while compilation is still in progress. In practical terms this process, known as Simultaneous Feedback (SF), can be understood as entailing a method in terms of which the release of several small-scale parallel dictionaries triggers off feedback that is instantly channelled back into the compilation process of a main dictionary.

Whereas the original concept was developed within the confines of printed dictionaries, work on an electronic adaptation, known as Fuzzy SF, was begun in 2001. In Fuzzy SF, traditional means for gathering feedback such as participant observation or questionnaires are replaced with the computational tracking of all actions in an electronic dictionary. Ultimately, the idea is that an automated analysis of the log files will enable the dictionary to tailor itself to each and every particular user. At present, the analysis of the log files is still largely done manually, in part with the aim to draw up typical user profiles that will then be fed into the projected adaptive and intelligent dictionary of the future.


1. Selected research output

  • De Schryver, G-M. 2011. The concept of Simultaneous Feedback. In R.H. Gouws, U. Heid, W. Schweickard & H.E. Wiegand (eds.). 2011. Dictionaries. An international encyclopedia of lexicography. Supplementary volume: Recent developments with special focus on computational lexicography (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science (HSK) series): (6 pages). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. [Prepress pdf 285KB]
  • De Schryver, G-M. 2003. Lexicographers' Dreams in the Electronic-Dictionary Age. International Journal of Lexicography 16/2: 143–199. [pdf 423KB]
  • De Schryver, G-M & D.J. Prinsloo. 2000. Dictionary-Making Process with 'Simultaneous Feedback' from the Target Users to the Compilers. In U. Heid, S. Evert, E. Lehmann & C. Rohrer (eds.). 2000. Proceedings of the Ninth EURALEX International Congress, EURALEX 2000, Stuttgart, Germany, August 8th-12th, 2000: 197–209. Stuttgart: Institut für Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, Universität Stuttgart. [pdf 470KB]
  • De Schryver, G-M. 1999. Bantu Lexicography and the Concept of Simultaneous Feedback, Some preliminary observations on the introduction of a new methodology for the compilation of dictionaries with special reference to a bilingual learner's dictionary Cilubà-Dutch (Unpublished MA dissertation). Ghent: Ghent University.

2. On the dictionary software used

  • TLex (aka TshwaneLex):
  • De Schryver, G-M & D. Joffe. 2005. Dynamic Metalanguage Customisation with the Dictionary Application TshwaneLex. In F. Kiefer, G. Kiss & J. Pajzs (eds.). 2005. Papers in Computational Lexicography, COMPLEX 2005: 190–199. Budapest: Linguistics Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. [pdf 489KB]
  • Joffe, D., G-M de Schryver & D.J. Prinsloo. 2003. Computational features of the dictionary application "TshwaneLex". Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 21/4 (Special issue on 'Human Language Technology in South Africa: Resources and Applications'): 239–250. [pdf 265KB]

3. Some example dictionaries

  • At TshwaneDJe HLT, all reference works are compiled within the framework of Simultaneous Feedback (SF) and/or Fuzzy SF. An overview of these dictionaries can be found here: Online, Electronic and Hardcopy Dictionaries at TshwaneDJe HLT
  • Several of South Africa's eleven, PanSALB-sponsored, National Lexicography Units are also compiling their dictionaries within this framework. An online example is the work in progress on the Explanatory Northern Sotho Dictionary: Pukuntšutlhaloši ya Sesotho sa Leboa ka Inthanete
  • De Schryver, G-M & N.S. Kabuta. 1998. Beknopt woordenboek Cilubà – Nederlands & Kalombodi-mfùndilu kàà Cilubà (Spellingsgids Cilubà), Een op gebruiks-frequentie gebaseerd vertalend aanleerderslexicon met decodeerfunctie bestaande uit circa 3.000 strikt alfabetisch geordende lemma's & Mfùndilu wa myakù ìdì ìtàmba kumwèneka (De orthografie van de meest gangbare woorden). Ghent: Recall. (xx + 120 pp. ISBN 90-76327-08-4)
(Updated: 17 December 2010)