The computer as a tool for the writer: the quest for the "right" word

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Knowles, Frank (1992). The computer as a tool for the writer: the quest for the "right" word. In: New Technology in Language Learning: Proceedings of the 1989 Man and the Media Symposium (Davies, Graham and Hussey, Michael eds.), Peter Lang, Berlin, pp. 39–49.


This symposium paper discusses the role of dictionaries in the process of writing and the effects of computerization. The authors include examples of several different hypothetical lexical searches and their outcomes, based on a writer's needs, and argue that these relationships differ from what is to be found in lexicons. A key point is that writers often want to break habits of thought, predigested thinking and prejudice, in which case dictionaries will not directly serve their writing requirements. The dictionary could be seen as a decision support system for writing, with a computerized system that tracks what has been written and suggests ideas based on the evolving text or on dictionary searches carried out or attempted by the writer.

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