News of Members

Christine Ammer writes:

The long-awaited new, revised and updated edition of my book, Unsung: A History of Women in American Music, is now available.  Addressed to music lovers of every genre, it chronicles the activities of women composers, conductors, instrumentalists, orchestra and opera managers, conservatory founders, and educators from the late 1700s to 2016.  It can be purchased as an e-book or print-on-demand book from Amazon and booksellers everywhere. Biographical sketches show the active participation of women musicians in every genre, as well as the increasing strides they have made in recent decades.  Christine Ammer has many other titles to her credit, including American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (approximately 10,000 idioms), Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches (approximately 3,000 cliches), and A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms (translation of expression marks from 35,000 scores).  Earlier word books now available as e-books include Fighting Words from War, Rebellion, and Other Combative Capers; Southpaws and Sunday Punches and Other Sporting Expressions; Fruitcakes and Couch Potatoes and Other Delicious Expressions; Seeing Red  or Tickled Pink, A Rainbow of Colorful Terms; and It’s Raining Cats and Dogs and Other Beastly Expressions.

Our former president, Terry Pratt, continues to compose music in his retirement. He has recently published “Four Short Songs of Love and Time,” including “Jenny Kissed Me,” “John Anderson, My Jo,” “Out Upon It!,” and “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving,” the first and fourth for SATB, the second for SSAA, and the third for TTBB. The publisher is Renforth Music (}.

Richard Bieman has been working on a project that will be of wide interest to our members. In his own words:

You asked about the dictionary I’ve been working on as part of my convalescence, and I just ran some numbers I’ll share with you. The project started out many, many years ago when a friend and I decided to make a list of all the synonyms for George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on television. Well, we quickly realized that was an overwhelming task, so we switched to just words related to sex in some manner … and it was still pretty overwhelming!! 🙂   As of 2/10/17, there are 32,272 headwords in the book with a total of 39,583 individual definitions. Total number of words is 527,586, comprising 2,049 pages.
If you do an Amazon search for books with “sex words” as the subject matter, you get 101 hits … or about 1 book published per year since 1900. But very few of those books are the result of serious research like mine is, and they certainly don’t have the breadth of content. The two most recent books that have been published are now 10 to 11 years old, and only contain 4,500 to 5,000 words each. As background for my book, I’ve read over 735 dictionaries, plus novels, magazines, TV shows, and anything that might contain sexually related words used in a serious or legitimate manner.
The criteria for inclusion in the book is that I must find a word, and its concomitant definition, in two independent sources, or one unimpeachable source, like the Oxford English Dictionary. I decided long ago that if the OED says “XXXX” means “a woman’s breasts,” I’ll take that at face value and include it, probably with a reference note, even if I don’t find the word or def anywhere else.
Part of the reason I wanted to renew my relationship with DSNA is because I believe I am closing in on completing something that should be publishable, and I have only a foggy idea about how to proceed from here. I also believe there are at least two more books that could be developed using the same research I’ve done for this dictionary … so more to come. I’ve read lots of “How to Publish Your Non-fiction Book” type of books, which are helpful in their own way, but nowhere near as helpful as talking with a few people who have actually walked down that road before and can point me in a good direction. I’m very open to ideas and suggestions what else I could/should be doing next.

Request for Member News

Please send your news for the next issue of the DSNA Newsletter to Peter Chipman at


Dictionaries: Something to look forward to in 2017

After 37 years as an annual publication, Dictionaries is moving to two issues a year. To trumpet the move we’ll introduce a new cover design and logo and a modern, more readable inside page.

What will two issues a year mean to you? Well, quite a bit—but if an increase in dues was the first thing that entered your mind, dispel the thought. But here’s what you can expect. Our annual has varied in size, over the past five years averaging about 270 pages per issue, and while an increase in page numbers would be welcome, we aren’t aiming to double the number published in a year. We will likely increase gradually, but even if page count remains steady, publishing two numbers a year delivers real advantages. For one thing, it’s a way for DSNA and its members to greet one another each spring and fall with both a journal and a newsletter. In addition, with the journal now accessible via Project MUSE, the scholarship that DSNA sponsors will gain greater recognition among lexicographers and students of lexicography around the world. Some potential contributors to the journal have understandably preferred submitting their work to journals with a shorter lag time than an annual affords. Especially for younger scholars and in an age of instant communication through social media, a shorter span between submission and publication will prove attractive. Beyond that, perhaps you know that some abstracting services admit a journal to their ranks only when the number of citations to the journal in other journals surpasses a benchmark and that the window for those citations can be a mere three years. Whether the month of publication is January or December, that year counts as the first of the three. For Dictionaries, published late in the year, a three-year window is effectively reduced to two, and that has hurt us. As you may not know, inclusion on the roster of certain abstracting services enhances royalties the Society receives from Project MUSE in two ways: by a likely increase in the number of downloads resulting from greater exposure and by an uptick in the royalty rate simply for having secured a place on the roster of those services. A further note in this regard: citations within Dictionaries to other journals will bolster their count in applications to the abstracting rosters.

Dictionaries has had six editors over the years, and in more recent years an associate editor or reviews editor. For several years now, Wendalyn Nichols of Cambridge University Press has served as our reviews editor and has also chaired the Society’s publications committee. Wendi has asked to step away from her responsibility as reviews editor following publication of the spring issue this year. Starting with the fall issue, then, Traci Nagle of Indiana University has agreed—with enthusiasm—to become the journal’s reviews editor. You are likely acquainted with Traci from her presentations at our biennial meetings and her contributions to the journal, including an article in the most recent issue. Several associate editors will also be named this spring, representing the character of current trends in lexicography and its study worldwide —and helping to ensure smooth transitions from editor to editor over time.

What else might it mean for the Society to publish two numbers of the journal each year? Well, as editor, I hope it means that each of us will think first of Dictionaries as a desirable venue for scholarship and will encourage colleagues and students to think of Dictionaries when their research warrants it. At conferences and professional meetings, I urge you to make note of presentations that would make articles of interest and value to readers of our journal and to say so to presenters—and to me for follow-up.

We are ready for the move to two numbers per year. Still, after decades of publishing an annual, the Society’s success in this venture will depend on generous effort by its members. I ask all readers of the Newsletter to consider how you can contribute to the success of the journal—renew your membership, suggest or give a subscription, suggest books to be reviewed, contribute your work and encourage others to contribute theirs. DSNA members take pride in publishing the most senior lexicographical journal in the world and in the quality of its contents. Like editors before me, I’m thankful for members’ generosity, offered in support of the journal in so many ways. I know members will welcome news of this move as supportively as the publications committee and the executive board feel in taking this step forward. Let this development be a hallmark of the Society’s energy and vitality in 2017.

(Ed Finegan, Editor, Dictionaries)


As of this issue, the Newsletter appears in a new format, that is, as part of what will become the Society’s new website. The Newsletter will be located beneath a tab, Newsletter Issues, alternating in content between the Spring and Fall issues yearly. Older volumes will stay up by date. A table of contents will allow you to move quickly through the various sections. The content will continue to be similar to what it is now but the new format will presumably make it possible to add other types of content, such as audio and video.

Note that the website of which it is part is under construction. The final version, which we hope to complete later this year, will look something like this. Feel free to explore it but note that some of the content may be out of date and also that changes will yet be made, some perhaps in response to your suggestions.

(David Jost, Editor, Newsletter)

News of Members

Alexander Bocast reports that the Encyclopedia of Diderot & d’Alembert Collaborative Translation Project has just published his translation of the article on définition in Diderot’s Encyclopédie, the first time that the article has been published in an English translation. They have put it up in three parts: one each for definition in logic, in mathematics, and in rhetoric.

Ray Cole, founder of the press The Rational Curriculums Enterprise™, which encourages “the rational development of the humanities,” in 2015 published Finding Your Voice, Everyday Phrases for Speaking and Writing, Volume 1 by Marshall Frank. Volume 1 contains “phrases that can serve as verbs or actions.” For more information please see

The paperback edition of Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century was published earlier this year. Also, the Guardian published an interview in which he commends lexicographers rather than journalists and essayists as sources of sound advice on usage.

Lewis J. Poteet reports that “after six paperback slang word-books on Nova Scotia, Quebec Eastern Townships, hockey, cars and motorcycles, aviation and cops lexicons, I am at work on a memoir which probes links between Swaziland and Soweto, missions and apartheid, through narrative from my experience in those two places 1946–1952 and return trips 2012–2014. To be titled Voetsak, it will spring from words: the King James Version–flavoured Nazarene lexicon; Nationalist party naming of places and practices; the common significance for South African victims of repression and the protest songs from Sixto Rodriguez’ experience as a member of the ‘hardworking class’ in inner-city Detroit in the 1960s; the political power of muti and the bosberaad; the evolving fortunes of English and Afrikaans during the anti-apartheid struggle; and the way in which the ‘Gospel light’ has come to be better spread by solar-powered water pumps than by sermons.”

Request for Member News

Please send your news for the next issue of the DSNA Newsletter to Peter Chipman at


HEL-LEX5, 5th International Symposium on History of English Lexicography and Lexicology, 16–18 February 2017, Zurich, Switzerland,

SHEL 10, English Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. 2–4 June 2017.

ASIALEX 2017, the National Key Research Center for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), Guangzhou, China. 10–12 June 2017.

Prescriptivism 2017, Brigham Young University, Park City, UT. 21–23 June 2017.

AustraLex Conference, University of the South Pacific, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. 28–29 August 2017.

eLex Conference, Institute of the Dutch Language, Leiden, the Netherlands, second half of September 2017.

19th Century Lexicography Conference: Between Science and Fiction. Stanford University, Stanford, CA USA, 6–7 April 2018.