This article starts by providing a brief summary of relevance theory in information
science in relation to the function theory of lexicography, explaining the different
types of relevance, viz. objective system relevance and the subjective types of
relevance, i.e. topical, cognitive, situational, socio-cognitive and affective relevance.
It then shows, at the hand of examples, why relevance is important from a user perspective
in the extra-lexicographical pre- and post-consultation phases and in the
intra-lexicographical consultation phase. It defines an additional type of subjective
relevance that is very important for lexicography as well as for information science,
viz. functional relevance. Since all lexicographic work is ultimately aimed at satisfying
users’ information needs, the article then discusses why the lexicographer should
take note of all these types of relevance when planning a new dictionary project, identifying
new tasks and responsibilities of the modern lexicographer. The article furthermore
discusses how relevance theory impacts on teaching dictionary culture and
reference skills. By integrating insights from lexicography and information science,
the article contributes to new ideas for both disciplines.