This paper discusses three important aspects of John Sinclair’s legacy: the corpus, lexicography, and the notion of ‘corpus-driven’. The corpus represents his concern with the nature of linguistic evidence. Lexicography is for him the canonical mode of language description at the lexical level. And his belief that the corpus should ‘drive’ the description is reflected in his constant attempts to utilize the emergent computer technologies to automate the initial stages of analysis and defer the intuitive, interpretative contributions of linguists to increasingly later stages in the process. Sinclair’s model of corpus-driven lexicography has spread far beyond its initial implementation at Cobuild, to most EFL dictionaries, to native-speaker dictionaries (e.g. the New Oxford Dictionary of English, and many national language dictionaries in emerging or re-emerging speech communities) and bilingual dictionaries (e.g. Collins, Oxford-Hachette).
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published by Oxford University Press, in International Journal of Lexicography, volume 21(3), Pg 231-242.