News Early 2018

Sarah Ogilvie, Associate Editor of Dictionaries, member of the Executive Board and the Publications Committee, announces her new Dictionary Lab at Stanford https://dictionarylab.stanford.edu/. Here is the About statement.

About

Arcade on the Quad

 

The Stanford Dictionary Lab is a research initiative that applies qualitative and quantitative analysis to the study of dictionaries and languages around the world. The Lab is open to Stanford students, professors, and collaborators beyond. In the spirit of digital humanities, many of our projects are collaborative and apply digital tools and methods (such as text analysis, data visualization, network analysis, graph theory, and machine learning) to dictionary data in order to ask new questions and create new knowledge.

Research at the Lab focusses on three main areas: research on the languages of the world by analyzing dictionary data; research on general lexicography and lexicology relating to all languages; and research on the history and creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Often called ‘forensic dictionary analysis’, this methodology combines statistical, textual, contextual, and qualitative analyses to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of language, and the making and reception of dictionaries.

We welcome collaborations on any language of the world, so please get in touch with the Director, Dr Sarah Ogilvie (sogilvie at stanford.edu), if you have an idea for a collaborative project relating to the analysis of dictionaries and language.

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Thanks to Lise Winer for sending this paean to dictionaries.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Magical-Power-of/242513

Alberto Manguel, The magical power of dictionaries. Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 12, 2018.

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The DSNA Professional Standards and Code of Conduct has been officially established and can be read here:

DSNA Professional Standards and Code of Conduct

Drafted August 1, 2017

Second Draft: September 26, 2017

Adopted by DSNA Executive Board: October 18, 2017

 Professional Conduct and Collegiality

Freedom of expression and vigorous debate are crucial to scholarly exchange. DSNA strives to uphold these principles at all times, while strongly valuing mutual respect and providing an environment for exchange free of intimidation. We expect speakers and questioners at our meetings to demonstrate civility at all times, even in the midst of disagreement.

As a Society, we recognize that lexicography and lexicology are disciplines that have a complex, sometimes exclusionary, history. We welcome new scholarship that challenges our presuppositions regarding our field, while also upholding a commitment to excellence in scholarship and research, and integrity in our work. The Society’s membership exhibits substantial diversity in terms of profession, expertise, and interest. We encourage the input of all our members, regardless of formal qualification and experience, as we together advance the scholarly and public understanding of lexicography and lexicology.

Nondiscrimination and AntiHarassment Standards

The DSNA is dedicated to providing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or employment status. Accordingly, the Society deplores all harassment and is sensitive to the harm suffered by persons who experience it. We expect those participating in DSNA meetings and events to treat others with the utmost respect, and not to engage in behavior that is intimidating, threatening, or harassing. This expectation applies to all involved, including but not limited to our speakers, staff, volunteers, attendees and guests.

The DSNA prohibits harassment on any grounds, including race, ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or employment status. Harassment constitutes physical or verbal behavior that is not welcome by a member and/or that is personally intimidating, hostile, offensive, coercive or threatening. It may include such actions as: (1) verbal abuse; (2) degrading comments; (3) the display of offensive objects or images outside of a scholarly context (e.g., a presentation on the treatment of profanity in a dictionary would not be considered offensive whereas the use of profanity directed at a fellow member would be); (4) conduct or comments of a lewd or lascivious nature; and (5) other conduct that the targeted individual (or group of individuals) might reasonably find to be intimidating, hostile, offensive, coercive, or threatening.

Reporting Mechanism

Harassment and unprofessional conduct, in any form, prevent us from carrying out our mandate of fostering a spirit of collegiality and support. Such conduct may jeopardize a member’s participation in DSNA events or their membership. If an individual believes that she or he has experienced harassment as outlined above at the Society’s meetings or events, the individual is requested to report it immediately to a member of the Executive Board and/or the President of the Societ

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Steve Kleinedler, president of the DSNA, has passed on this news about the American Heritage Dictionary, from a statement that was released on February 1, 2018.

“With the continuing decline in consumer demand for print dictionaries we have reduced our front-list plans steadily over the past decade, and reorganized our staff in stages.  Today, regretfully, we eliminated two positions.  In the spring, Executive Editor Steve Kleinedler will transition to Editor at Large, working on a part-time basis.  We will continue to update the American Heritage and Webster’s New World databases, continue to work with licensing partners, and continue to publish updated editions as the market allows.”  – Bruce Nichols, SVP and Publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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As of 2/3/2018

The DSNA Newsletter is usually published twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. The editor is David Jost. News of members and other items of interest to our readers are welcome. Please send Newsletter correspondence, such as items for publication, to the editor at dajebj@gmail.com. Send Member News submissions to dsna.membernews@gmail.com. You may also send submission for News on the website to David Jost.

Send correspondence re membership, etc. to

Kory Stamper, Executive Secretary, DSNA
PO Box 537
Collingswood, NJ 08108-0537

 

MUSIC FROM THE 2017 DSNA CONFERENCE

Brianne Hughes, Katy Isaacs, Lisa Berglund

Three Lexicographers are We

Lisa Berglund

(parody of “Three Little Maids from School are We” from the Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan

 

Three lexicographers are we

Wise as a wordsmith well can be

Filled to the brim with philology —

Three lexicographers!

 

Ev’ ry word is a source of fun

Decades go by and you’ve just begun

Writing a book that’s never done:

Three lexicographers!

 

Three lexicographers learned, very,

In all the nonsense necessary

For to compile a dictionary

Three lexicographers!

Three lexicographers!

 

One with a king held a dialogue

One in a shed through the slips did slog

One lexicographer writes a blog

Three lexicographers!

 

One did compose Greek and Latin verse

Two: in Phoenician could converse;

Three: is a star in the Twitterverse!

Three lexicographers!

 

Three lexicographers learned, very,

In all the nonsense necessary

For to compile a dictionary

Three lexicographers!

Three lexicographers!

 

When You Use a Dictionary

Lisa Berglund

(parody of “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore” from HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan

 

When you use a dictionary

Be judicious and be wary;

Lexicography, I warn you,

Is a complicated trade,

And the product is like sausage

So don’t ask me how it’s made!

 

When you use a dictionary

Be judicious and be wary:

If the word you want is missing

Go ahead–complain and pout.

0ther readers are insisting

That the ed’tors take it out!

 

When you use a dictionary

Be judicious and be wary:

Don’t stop at signification

For you haven’t done your jobs

Till you know the derivation,

And if it’s dial., vulg. or obs.!

 

REFRAIN

Don’t trust Johnson,

Don’t trust  Webster,

Don’t trust Murray’s OED.

Ev’ ry book has an agenda

Even when they all agree!

It is not as one supposes

(Nothing like what one supposes)–

2nd time (It is not a bed of roses)–

They were not engraved by Moses

(No one half as wise as Moses).

2nd time (as perusal soon discloses).

Read the headwords,

check your spelling,

Skim the etymology–

Lexicons have tales worth telling

Sorted out from A to Z!

Read the headwords,

check your spelling,

Learn the codes that here ensconce words.

Lexicons have tales worth telling–

Catachresis, nouns and nonce words!

Hail to lexicography!

Sorting out from A to Z!

EDUCATION NEWS FALL 2017

Mark Alan Canada

Several of you expressed interest in the assignment I described in my “Teaching Lexicography” talk [at the DSNA Conference in Barbados].  Here it is:

Coin a word and write a dictionary entry for it. Your entry should include all of the components of a standard dictionary entry: headword, pronunciation symbols, and information about part of speech, denotation, and etymology. Thus, you should become very familiar with your own hardback dictionary and understand the form and purpose of each of these components. Don’t worry about using fancy pronunciation symbols; just try to represent the pronunciation of the word with normal letters. Finally, please include a paragraph explaining your reason for coining this word, the type of process of word formation it demonstrates (blending, compounding, acronym, eponym, etc.), labels for the morphemes in the word (free/bound, base/affix, derivational affix/inflectional affix), a sentence or two about the word’s part of speech, and at least one sample sentence. (Length: 250-300 words. Sources: 2. Value: 10 points.)

As I explained in my talk, I used this assignment in an English grammar class, but I suspect that one could adapt it for other kinds of classes, such as a class on basic linguistics or lexicography.

 

DICTIONARY NEWS FALL 2017

The Middle English Dictionary project

Paul Schaffner

We at the University of Michigan Library are pleased to report that revision of the Middle English Dictionary https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/ and its associated resources has begun, after a 20-year hiatus, thanks to a two-year grant (2016-18) awarded under the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our hope is that this effort will set in motion a process of ongoing revision, but our immediate goals are to perform only the most urgent updates, publishing as much supplementary information as we can, even when we cannot afford to integrate it fully into the existing online Dictionary. We have been attaching to the appropriate entries additional quotes and notes taken chiefly from two sources: (1) about 20,000 ‘supplement slips’ set aside over decades by the MED editors in hope that an MED Supplement would someday be compiled. These have hitherto lain largely inaccessible in boxes in the university archives. And (2) a much smaller number of new virtual supplement slips drawn from editorial notes in recent editions of ME texts, notes of the sort that typically declare, “this word (or sense, or spelling) omitted by MED.” We have also been adding those more recent editions (or some of them) to the Dictionary’s Bibliography, and will be roughly doubling the number of primary texts hosted on the Middle English Compendium site. Corrections and additions either to MED or to its Bibliography are welcome. mailto:mec-info@umich.edu

We have also continued the long process of removing artifacts of its print origins from the Dictionary, in favor of data that is more amenable to being searched and manipulated by computer. We are expanding some of the implicit and contracted spellings given in the print MED, thereby exposing them to search; and we are completing a nearly comprehensive map of MED to OED lemmas and sub-lemmas, thereby facilitating not only a seamless link to the corresponding OED entry but potentially also a lookup search of the MED itself by modern English equivalent (mostly to be identified with the OED headword).

Our larger goal is to transform the MED from an essentially static resource to an essentially dynamic one, in two respects, editorially, adding the ability to accept, store, and publish additions and corrections; and technically, preparing for the migration of the Dictionary and Compendium data to new platforms (to avoid technical obsolescence) and new functionality, which will allow the data to be opened up for reuse by other products and projects, thus fulfilling the vision that we always had for the MEC as a node in a network of historical dictionaries, electronic editions, text portals, and other linguistic resources.

mailto:pfs@umich.edu Paul Schaffner (P.I.); John Latta (editor); Mona Logarbo (editor); Robert E. Lewis (MED chief editor emeritus; volunteer editor).

Cynthia Barnhart

Cynthia Barnhart has allowed the Newsletter to publish two sections of her extraordinary memoir of her life in lexicography. I have read the entire piece (39 typed pages) and know that it would make an excellent article in a paying publication. Barnhart is a name to conjure with when it comes to dictionaries and the history around this name is of great interest. I hope that anyone reading this who can help with its publication will volunteer. [For more information about the Barnharts, please see the Fall 2016 Newsletter.]

SECTION ONE

I am still sad about how things worked out; I really was invested in the new English books and liked working on them. But then again, I guess I’m sad about all that’s happened in (or to) the dictionary firmament. Somehow I am indignant or regretful when I consult an online dictionary. (Who wrote this thing? I ask.) For all one knows, looking at the truncated lines of print, the shabby pronunciation keys, the want of explanatory citation that could so expand the minimal definitions, that’s all there is to language, just a few little phrasal descriptions of one word. A language of just one word, the one in front of you. Even the lists of other, related words, don’t suggest the scope of a language as a bookdictionary does.

At the least, if the user is looking in a smallish dictionary with just say 30,000 words, it’s clear there are a lot of words encased between those two covers, and if it’s a larger dictionary, there are more words. A book suggests size, heft and breadth of a vocabulary—who’d have thought there were so many words? And then there’s also the thought in a print dictionary that someone actually wrote down, using a pen and paper, those definitions that explain a word’s meaning. And then one can wonder, well, how many of those definitions did that someone write? Ten thousand? One hundred thousand? Five hundred? Did that person actually go from A to Z? And what about all those people from the preelectronic era who set those dictionaries into type, people who knew picas and halfspaces and secondary accents as well as most of us know periods—in trays of backwards letters, one after another—by hand and then by linotype machine, all those sheets of blank paper racing through a highspeed printer to pages, the stacks of uncut folios sliced into pages, finally sewn and bound, a book with covers enclosing text, a singular product of people and merciless, ingenious, noisy machines? What about the linotype operators who would spot something amiss on a page, query it for their rough proofreader who would mark the proof for the editor?

Does the contemporary dictionary person have the same feeling of connection to the way penandpaper became the final product? I do know something about electronic dictionary editing: You type your changes or new entries on a keyboard and, miraculously, they appear on the screen (almost) like typeset entries; you are inclined to think they must be correct or good enough, they are “in print”; you move onto the next and the next entry; you become very efficient, especially if you are lucky enough to have a good program to work in, and the fact is that there most likely isn’t much editorial oversight of your work that might improve the quality of your output for the simple reason that you are the firstdraft writer, the editor, editorinchief, proofreader, typesetter and stylist, one person at one computer, an island. You are not a discerning or gifted editor, you are simply a cog, and all those hours of keyboarding are a blur, not a book, simply a product.

SECTION TWO

So, what have I learned during the years between my first “job” at Clarence L. Barnhart and my later life as an unemployed dictionary person? A lot. A lot about dictionary making, about language; a lot about business and its essentially irrational nature; a lot about the friends one unexpectedly discovers along the way; a lot about family relations and disintegration; a lot about the obligations integral to the role of legatee; much about the fragility of human relationships; and gratefully, even more about how tentative our grasp on things that matter most to us and how important my children’s support (and tolerance) have been throughout. I have also found that writing a memoir helps get a perspective on events so charged, at times it seems as if there will never be any way to moderate the outsized emotion. It probably helps that I still believe what we did had value. Now that enough time has passed for me to think about our story with a little dispassion, I have finally come to realize I have found something like a perspective on the dysfunctional relationships between Rob, Clarence and Rob’s brother, David; I understand the dictionaries Rob wrote, even though they were very much the result of his own editorial vision, could not have happened without the work of his father, first with Thorndike, then as an independent dictionary maker; I accept that there was probably no way the three Barnhart men could ever fit comfortably in one room or in one business; and I am warmed by the reflected glow from the Barnhart contribution to the art of making dictionaries. Not incidentally, Rob and I had a really great time making dictionaries, making a family, making plans. Perhaps the message of the Barnhart story is that the angle of a trajectory is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.

COLLECTION NEWS FALL 2017

An Interview with Bryan A. Garner

David Vancil

Bryan A. Garner earned his undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, the latter in 1984. Bryan’s undergraduate senior thesis was on aspects of Shakespeare’s usage, revealing an interest in English usage that later manifested itself in his many published books.

Widely known for his lexicographic accomplishments, Bryan is president of LawProse Inc., which assists with legal writing and provides seminars to improve the writing skills of practicing lawyers. He is also the author of more than two dozen books on writing and legal advocacy. He’s even written a book on the rules of golf “in plain English.”

Anyone who has followed Bryan’s career or examined his work will know that he’s an advocate of clear and straightforward written expression. The fourth edition of Garner’s Modern English Usage introduced ratios, based on big data, showing the relative frequency of standard and variant forms of a given usage—a real innovation in lexicography. He’s received many accolades for this and his other works.

We are privileged to talk with Bryan about his vast collection of books, which, according to a 2015 Dallas Morning News article, comprises some 44,000 volumes. Many of those are dictionaries and grammars that have contributed to our knowledge of the English language’s history—some harking back to the 15th century.

Vancil: Bryan, like you, I am an alumnus of The University of Texas. As a grad student, I met several eminent bibliographers who influenced me to become a rare-book librarian and a student of early books. Did you have any similar experiences?

Garner: I certainly had professors who influenced me toward bibliomania—especially the late John W. Velz of the English Department. He supervised my 150-page senior thesis on “Shakespeare’s Latinate Diction,” and he got me started in my researches at the Harry Ransom Center. Soon I learned more about Harry Ransom himself, and I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps—as a book-collector, at least, and perhaps as a scholar as well.

Vancil: How many of your books would you say pertain to lexicography or allied fields, including usage?

Garner: Probably 8,000, if we construe “allied fields” broadly to include linguistics. But if the phrase is construed most broadly, all of them “pertain to lexicography” in the sense that I might draw on any of them for illustrative quotations. Black’s Law Dictionary contains lengthy quotations from more than 980 sources, and some of the quotations extend to more than 150 words. I don’t simply illustrate a word’s use in a sentence but instead actually quote expert legal commentators on some aspect of legal usage. As far as I know, my use of quotations in Black’s is something of an innovation in lexicography. Two major publishers gave me carte blanche to quote as extensively as I wished from all their law-related books—thereby relieving me of any copyright difficulties. So all my 25,000 or so law-related books come frequently into play with my lexicography.

Vancil: Speaking of innovations in lexicography, can you tell us a little about your use of ngrams in the fourth edition of Garner’s Modern English Usage? What inspired you to use big data that way, and how did it affect the way you prepared the new edition?

Garner: With big data, we can now make more-surefooted pronouncements about predominant vs. secondary usages—and to what extent the competing forms actually appear in print. I show these as ratios in some 2,500 entries. Hence it’s not just an “armchair grammarian’s preference” to say that between you and me predominates over between you and I in print sources by a ratio of 16:1, or that interpretive predominates over interpretative by a ratio of 2:1. To a usage lexicographer (which is what I am in GMEU), this information is truly revolutionary.

Vancil: Were there any usages for which the ngram data really surprised you?

Garner: Dozens. How about data itself? These data are still predominates over this data is by a 2:1 ratio, but the gap has been steadily closing since about 1990.

Vancil: Are there any areas you have steered clear of in dictionary-collecting? Conversely, what areas do you focus on in building your collection?

Garner: I avoid polyglot dictionaries—in fact, I recently sold 550 of them (16th–19th century books) at an auction in London. I concentrate on English-language dictionaries and grammars.

Vancil: Is there a particular book that has eluded you?

Garner: Yes. But I stay quiet about the ones I’m stealthily on the lookout for!

Vancil: Is the 1491 Vocabularium Iuris still your prized possession? Or is there some other recent acquisition you’d like to tout?

Garner: Although I have two first editions of Johnson’s Dictionary (1755), and all of the folio editions, I especially prize the first edition that was owned by the G&C Merriam Co. in the 1930s. It has a buckram binding matching that of Webster’s Second New International Dictionary. In other words, G&C Merriam Co. had its own binders rebind the huge two-volume work sometime in the 1930s. Volume 1 has the company’s bookplate inside. I consider the set priceless.

Vancil: Do you allow researchers to make use of your collection?

Garner: Only my own staff of nine—or the occasional lexicographer friend who is passing through Dallas.

Vancil: Thank you, Bryan, for sharing your love of books with us.

Garner: Thank you for listening to my bibliomaniacal babblings!

DSNA NEWS FALL 2017

The latest news includes information about our Publications Committee (PubCom), two Society awards, a gift the Society has recently made, and the dates of our 2019 conference.

New Office and Officer in her own words

“By day, Brianne Hughes is a technical editor at Bishop Fox, where she ensures the quality of information security reports, develops internal reference materials, and provides ongoing training to consultants. By night, she continues her compound morphology research at EncyclopediaBriannica.com. She has shared her linguistic findings with Ignite Portland, SHEL/DSNA, and Odd Salon. She is a member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES), is Associate Executive Secretary for the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA), and is on the board of directors at Wordnik Society, Inc. Brianne received a Masters in Linguistics from the University of York in 2012.”

 

PubCom

Wendi Nichols, head of the committee, describes the purview of the committee:

In general we oversee the information channels of the Society – the journal, the newsletter, and the website. We advise on books to review and suggest reviewers, we make decisions about the physical journal (we chose new paper a while back, and now we’re finishing up a redesign). This year the big push will be to complete the process of moving the newsletter online and migrating the old blog to a new site, with an attendant redesign.

We make recommendations to the Executive Board for areas in which they need to have the final say. There is an open question as to whether “publications” should extend to “communications” more broadly – i.e., social media – because as the newsletter becomes a digital product the activity of communicating with members is migrating more to the Web. This will be a good discussion to take up with the new Executive Board, especially given the expertise of Kory and Brianne.

New members are:

Kory Stamper, Executive Secretary

Brianne Hughes, Associate Executive Secretary

Orion Montoya and Sarah Ogilvie, Associate Editors

Traci Nagle, our new Reviews Editor

Luanne Schneidemesser, as outgoing President, and Rebecca Shapiro, as outgoing Executive Secretary, are leaving the committee as are Lise Winer and Michael Adams. We are grateful for their service.

Members who will remain are Ed Finegan, editor of the Journal, Wendi Nichols who heads the committee, Elizabeth Knowles, our Vice President, Janet DeCesaris, Michael Hancher, and David Jost, Newsletter Editor.

Awards

Baillie Ford (nominated by Stefan Dollinger) is the Richard W. Bailey Honorary Presidential Member. Stefan says of her: “She has proven herself far beyond the level of an undergraduate student in the art and craft of lexicography. Baillie has worked on the DCHP62, with interruptions, since 2013. Most crucially, she returned after she finished her BA to work full time on the project. Because of her exceptional eye for detail and abstraction skills, I made her one of our first student drafters. Baillie drafted, under my supervision, almost a quarter of the entries in DCHP62, many of which I could take over not just in their structure; all of them, without exception, were immensely helpful in terms of the quotation evidence she selected from the Bank of Canadian English. After June 2016, when funding ran out, Baillie – herself not being in a good financial position– still offered to volunteer and provided crucial evidence to select queries on my part. There was no way to keep her from the project. She was, from that point on and had been for almost all of 2016, the arms and legs of DCHP62.

Emily Snyder (nominated by Steve Kleinedler) is the Enid Pearsons Honorary Presidential Member. Steve wrote:

“Because staff sizes are a fraction of what they used to be, [Emily] has very quickly learned many skills that are an asset to the department. She has worked not only on our flagship product, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, but also many of our other titles and is currently the project manager for the new edition of our First Dictionary.

“Emily has learned well from existing staff members but she has also taken it upon herself to seek out additional information on her own time and has become an indispensable staff member. She’s also immersed herself in the production aspect of print projects by learning software like InDesign, which allows her as an editorial member to make editorial decisions while paging a book, which saves a step as compared to editorial needing to address queries flagged by production when they page books.

“In a short time, she has shown a natural affinity for precise defining. She asks all the right questions, and she’s excellent at spotting patterns in existing products and noticing error.”

Contribution to the Cordell Collection

Michael Adams has proposed that we donate $2500 to the Cordell Collection as part of Indiana State University’s sesquicentennial; both Luanne and Steve agreed this was a worthwhile investment. DSNA and the Cordell Collection at the ISU library are intertwined: they are housing the DSNA archives in their Collection; members have used the Collection for years, some receiving a fellowship to do research there; we’ve reported in the newsletter about the Collection; and in 2009 the library bused the whole conference to Terre Haute, gave us tours, a reception, and dinner.

DSNA Conference 2019

The 2019 conference will be in BLOOMINGTON IN (not Indianapolis), May 8-11 2019.

Other conferences of interest to DSNA members:

eLex Conference, Institute of the Dutch Language, Leiden, the Netherlands, second half of September 2017. https://elex.link/elex2017/

19th Century Lexicography Conference: Between Science and Fiction. Stanford University, Stanford, CA USA,  April 6-7 2018.  https://lexicographers.stanford.edu

The ninth ICHLL will be held in Italy in Santa Margherita Ligure on June 20-22 2018. The conference website www.ichll9.wordpress.com

The XVIII EURALEX International Congress will be held July 17-21 2018 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. http://euralex2018.cjvt.si

Regional Meetings of DSNA

Up to now the only regional meetings have been those of MetroLex. I plan to organize an event in New England next year and I hope those of you in other parts of the country and abroad will do the same. The Conference in Barbados reminded me once again how fine it is to see people in person and two years is just too long to wait.

Below is a photograph of the last MetroLex meeting held 4/28/2017 and sponsored by (as Rebecca Shapiro says) “CUP and Columbia University, esp., John McWhorter and his wonderful student.”

Rebecca says, “The caption we had on Twitter was ‘What do you call a group of lexicographers?’ and replies were such things as brace, gaggle, pride, collocation, collexion, drudges, glossary.

[My own preference is drudge. DJ. Peter Chipman prefers collocation.]

Above, from left to right: Rebecca Shapiro, David Barnhart​, Enid Pearsons, ​Donna Farina, Charles Levine​, Carol June Cassidy, ​Wendi Nichols, ​Katherine Martin, Steve Kleinedler, Jesse Sheidlower, Carol Braham, Ben Zimmer (photo by Ellen Jovin)

MEMBER NEWS FALL 2017

Kory Stamper’s debut book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries was published by Pantheon in March and has attracted widespread interest, with appreciative articles appearing in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and other print and digital media, along with interviews on NPR’s Fresh Air and Here and Now. A review in Publisher’s Weekly describes Word by Word as “A witty, sly, occasionally profane behind-the-scenes tour aimed at deposing the notion of ‘real and proper English.’”

David Vancil, a longtime contributor to the DSNA newsletter and former curator of the Cordell Collection of Dictionaries, has published in many fields touching on collections held in the library of Indiana State University. Included in this bibliography are two books he compiled relating to the history of lexicography and four monographs bringing together many of his published poems.

Lexicography:

Catalog of Dictionaries, Word Books, and Philological Texts, 1440-1900: Inventory of the Cordell Collection of Dictionaries, Indiana State University. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993. 397 pp.

Incunable Dictionaries: A Checklist and Publishing History. Kevin Jett, editorial assistant. Terre Haute, IN: Friends of the Cunningham Memorial Library, 1994. 223 pp.

Poetry (arranged chronologically):

The Art School Baby. Terre Haute, IN: Hawkhead Press, 1992. 30 pp.

The Homesick Patrol. Woodridge, CT: Viet Nam Generation, Inc. & Burning Cities Press, 1995. 64 pp.

Night Photo. Black River Falls, WI: Obscure Publications, 2008. 28 pp.

Moon Walking. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2009. 24 pp.

Our member Richard Bieman calls our attention to a recent publication about the indigenous Indian population of early southern New England and Long Island, by Carl Masthay.  Carl and he are both members of the TOPSociety, an organization similar to Mensa, but with a membership threshold of an IQ in the top 1% rather than Mensa’s 2%. Carl’s book is:  Languages and Lore of the Long Island Indians, edition 2, Carl Masthay, Linguistics Editor, and Gaynell Stone, Ph.D. Lore Editor. ISBN: 978‑1‑5323‑2090‑3.  Highlights of the book include:

*The Lore section, which provides new images of the material culture record, belief systems, and Native art.

*A succession of early maps of Long Island showing Indian towns.

*Slate tablet from Dosoris Beach, Glen Cove, which is now realized to be a map of North Shore Nassau County, also showing their food sources.

*The story of Cockenoe‑de‑Long Island, translator for Colonials and Natives.

*The story of Samson Occom, teacher and preacher for the Montaukett B, the only Long Island indigenous to have his portrait painted.

*A great amount of linguistic materials of Long Island and of Southern Connecticut.

Susanna Janssen shares this information about her new book.

Hello fellow members of the Dictionary Society! I joined less than a year ago—don’t know why
it took me so long to find you—and while introducing myself, I also want to announce my new
book and say welcome to my wondrous world of words.

In December 2016 I published Wordstruck!: The Fun and Fascination of Language and it has
just won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: First Place in the category of
Humor/Comedy, and Finalist in Education/Academic. Wordstruck! lightheartedly explores over
fifty different topics on words, language, and cultures with a style and substance that excites the
brain, warms the heart, and tickles the funny bone. Anything goes, from the genius of
Shakespeare to the unintentional hilarity of linguistic faux pas; from musings on the bilingual
brain to the poignant humor of my “Life in Words”; from translations gone riotously bad to
English learners tortured by our mother tongue’s inconstant consonants and sudden vowel
movements. It’s a fun and fascinating look at language and the cultures that create it wherein
you’ll share a love for metaphor, a fabulous arsenal of fascinating word origins, a surprising cure
for earworms, a joyful romp with everyone’s favorite grammar errors, and a way to spot liars by
listening to their words. You’ll see that color can be a language as foreign as Farsi, and that there
are countless words in other languages that we simply have no translation for in English. And
that’s only a quarter of the chapters in this love affair with the lexicon!

Author Richard Lederer wrote an endorsement for Wordstruck! that I’d like to share with you:
“Susanna Janssen is one of the most wordstruck, word besotted, word bethumped people riding
our planet. Reading Wordstruck!, one basks in the luminous presence of learning dressed up to
have fun.”

I am a professor emeritus of Spanish living amongst vineyards and redwood trees in Mendocino
County of Northern California. I continue to teach private classes in Spanish and Italian, coach
language learners on skill development and fluency, translate at a rural medical clinic in Mexico,
and write a newspaper column on words, language, culture and travel.

 

INTRODUCTION FALL 2017

In this issue of the Newsletter you will find a celebration, bibliomania, vital history, and educational material of interest as well as much else. I have formalized various departments such as Member News, DSNA News, and so on. Once again I am grateful for the editorial help of Peter Chipman of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the American Heritage Dictionary.

Please remember that you the members are the resource for the Newsletter and I welcome all contributors.

David Jost, Editor