Hi Steve, and SWlist.
Adam Schembri had taken the German Puddle Dictionary as
an example and noticed that there are more than one entries for a lexeme - and in this aspect i think he was right.
1) Several comments here.
When compiling a dictionary, one is using as many lexical entries as exist and can be traced with some accuracy. LIBRAS has at least 5 regional
signs for "green (VERDE)" and "mother (MAE)". As lexical items in Portuguese they would be listed separately. The DEIT LIBRAS dictionary has more than 6,000 terms with their histories, region, and usage, and there are often multiple terms for the same Portuguese word.
2) No two languages translate perfectly into one another. I think of the term RED. How would a given sign language, as that language, and not in fingerspelling, sign "rose", "vermillion", "crimson", "maroon", "scarlet", and "blood" without resorting to combinations of multiple signs. The fact that the dictionaries are multi-lingual by default will have
some items in one language not appear as single items in the other.
3) We do need to divide out "attested" signs from "student" tries. When I put entries into the LIBRAS dictionary, I always put the attribution, even if it's just me, post it to Escrita Sinais facebook or this listing page for criticism to ensure its accuracy. We work with DEIT LIBRAS (with its enormous lexicon), and when the entry comes from other compilations that are regional, we label them as such. There are two national listings (not using sign writing) which are criticized for including archaic, regional, and colloquial signs, but, for me, a
dictionary is the place to include them so that the variations are seen.
4) The seminal work of Rochester Institute of Technology for creating "Signs of Sexual Behavior" and "Signs of Drug Use" is precisely that kind of effort that researched not only ASL but Black ASL as a separate regionalism as interpreters are going to need the signs in their work in hospitals and legal situations where the understanding of the patient or defendant is paramount.