DICTIONARY NEWS FALL 2018

In this section you will find an update on Globalex by Ed Finegan, an update of progress with the Middle English Dictionary by Paul Schaffner, and two notices of dictionary projects.

Update on Globalex

Ed Finegan

In the Spring 2017 issue of the DSNA Newsletter, Ilan Kernerman provided a thorough introduction to Globalex, including descriptions of the five continental associations and eLex, the groups that played an active part over the past couple of years in preparation for launching an official alliance or “global constellation for lexicography” as Globalex. As Ilan wrote at the time, “The core idea of Globalex is to work on lexicography in global contexts and bring together different segments that operate on their own – on regional, topical or any other level – to cooperate.” You can read his report at http://dictionarysociety.com/?p=375 . As DSNA’s representative to the preparatory group that formed Globalex, I attended virtual meetings of the preparatory group each month and a couple of in-person meetings, including at eLex in Leiden in 2017 and the Euralex Congress in Ljubljana in July of this year (both cost-free to DSNA, it should be noted). At the Ljubljana meeting, the preparatory group concurred formally on a document called “Guidelines,” which constitutes the operating agreement of Globalex and has since been approved by the DSNA executive board and all the continental associations. Late in July, officers of the five continental associations signed the agreement, and you can view it below. The preparatory committee plans to disband itself on August 20, and the new “management committee” will have its first meeting after that. I have agreed to represent DSNA for the initial period, and in 2020 DSNA will designate a different representative.

Globalex signed by all CA officers

At the closing session of the Euralex Congress (with quite a few DSNA members in attendance), Ilan presented a brief overview of Globalex and its history to date, including mention of several workshops. Further information about the workshops and other Globalex activities can be found at https://globalex.link/ . Discussions are underway for possible Globalex activities at DSNA’s biennial meeting in Bloomington next May.

Report of 20August 2018 Globalex meeting

On 20 August 2018, the six members of the Globalex management committee—Edward Finegan (DSNA), Ilan Kernerman (Asialex), Simon Krek (Elexis), Julia Miller (Australex), Dion Nkomo (Afrilex), Lars Trap Jensen (Euralex)—met via Skype.

 

Preparatory Committee.  Ed, Ilan, Simon, Julia, and Lars, as well as Iztok Kosem (eLex) and Danie Prinsloo (Afrilex), had met earlier (16:00-16:23) to dissolve the preparatory committee, thank everyone, and bid farewell to Iztok and Danie. The Globalex Guidelines drafted by the preparatory committee have been adopted and signed by all five continental associations.

 

Welcome. Ed, Ilan, Julia, and Lars have been appointed to continue representing their respective continental associations on the management committee. Dion replaces Danie as the Afrilex representative. Simon was invited to join the management committee as representative of Elexis and joined the discussion at 16:30 CEST.

 

Vision. Afrilex has submitted its vision for Globalex, in summary:

Questions: What is the way forward? Were the initial goals that were set out achieved? Are we where we want to be? Did we bring added value? Did we manage to link the lexes by sharing information, presentations; manage to establish a dynamic website as a hub of information; succeed in facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing, promote research, development, exchange, dissemination, and usage of resources and solutions; enhance interoperability?

Aim: Develop website as hub and popular point of departure for retrieval of information, guidance to resources, knowledge sharing, links to publications and presentations, etc.

Aspiration: Alert members through mailing lists to fresh new developments on Globalex website, interesting information; each lex rep should supply information.

 

All other members are requested to present their Globalex vision.

 

Continental Associations. Euralex included an overview and update on Globalex by Ilan in its conference closing session in July; a video recording will be available on Globalex website. DSNA’s Fall Newsletter will include update on Globalex by Ed.

Asialex to hold 2019 conference at Istanbul University, Turkey.

Afrilex to hold 2019 conference in Namibia.

Australex plans to hold 2019 conference in Canberra and to build membership and awareness.

Globalex could help strengthen the continental associations by doing things the associations may not be able to do, such as offering materials, website, etc.

 

Work Procedures. The management committee will meet monthly (minimum requirement in the Guidelines is once a quarter) usually for one hour. Each representative is responsible for reporting on Globalex to his/her continental association regularly. Updates will be posted on the Globalex website from time to time as appropriate. Attempt to define the goals we want to achieve, with a timeline, by next meeting.

 

Management Committee Constitution. Ilan was appointed chair with Julia as vice-chair.

 

Website. Simon has built the Globalex website. Two other websites (of workshops at LREC 2016 and 2018) are connected to it (the latter lost its connection recently when the hosting changed).

New website manager needed. Costs for the maintenance work and adding materials to the repository will be covered by Elexis funds. Ilan will contact candidate from Elexis.

The website contains information on each continental association (an Elexis profile will be added), news about current events, the Globalex Guidelines, and a repository for publications, proceedings and presentations, etc.

 

New Members. We will consider what could be achieved by having representation by other groups – regional, local, and special topic, recognizing the possible complications of having a large management committee. It was decided to wait until the practical goals are defined.

 

Events. Ilan has been invited to organize a seminar for DSNA 2019 and suggested it be a Globalex one. This might be combined with another proposal to co-organize a DSNA workshop on new words and internet lexicography. It could include distant participation online. The papers could be circulated first, with the meeting held as a discussion of the papers. Another idea is to have a two-part workshop on bilingual dictionaries with a European/Asian language pair, part 1 next year at Asialex and part 2 at Euralex the following year. This could be expanded to other conferences that will take place next year to the wider topic of bilingual lexicography with language pairs from different families or continents. Alternatively (or in addition), Globalex could add to any conference by providing an extra meeting to attract people to attend, e.g. by having three 30-minute talks at a workshop that is integral to the larger meeting (not necessarily as pre/post-conference). This would also be a way to form symbolic ties between conferences.

We will continue to discuss this via email.

Next Meeting of the Management Committee. Thursday, 27 September 2018.

 

Globalex management committee report, September 2018

 

On 27 September 2018, the six members of the Globalex management committee—Edward Finegan, Ilan Kernerman, Simon Krek, Julia Miller, Dion Nkomo, Lars Trap-Jensen—met via Skype. Ilan chaired the meeting.

 

Note: To help ensure ready access to the workings of Globalex, the management committee agreed to publish a report of each management committee meeting on the Globalex website and make it available to the continental associations to broadcast as they wish.

 

News

The DSNA Newsletter has published an updated report on Globalex by Ed in the Fall 2018 issue: http://dictionarysociety.com/dictionary-news-fall-2018/.

 

The presentation Ilan made about Globalex at the Euralex 2018 closing session in Ljubljana in July is available at http://videolectures.net/. Now part of the entire closing session video, the presentation will be made accessible independently on the Globalex website.

 

Website

A discussion about the website maintenance concluded that hosting Globalex’s URL on the same server as ELEXIS (by Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana) would be the most efficient way to secure maintenance for the Globalex website, and Simon Krek from ELEXIS graciously agreed to arrange the transfer.

 

Globalex aims at having all publications regarding lexicography available on or via the website. ‘Lexicon’, a high quality print journal issued annually by the Iwasaki Linguistics Circle in Japan (focusing on ELT lexicography), would like to mount its articles on the Globalex website. Arrangements are being sought to digitize the existing issues for this purpose.

 

Workshops

Two Globalex workshops have been planned. One will occur at DSNA (on the topic of neologism and lexicography), meeting in Bloomington, Indiana, in May 2019, and so far ten invitees have agreed to participate. The second idea is to organize joint workshops at Asialex and Euralex conferences, and the conveners have expressed interest. Afrilex (26-29 June 2019) has not finalised its program, but may have room for a Globalex session.

 

Conference organisers from our continental associations are encouraged to include Globalex workshops/seminars in their conference programs

 

Vision and Membership

The continental associations will be prompted for their views for Globalex activities. Afrilex has made suggestions. The topic of expanding Globalex membership was addressed briefly.

 

Next Meeting

The next MC meeting is set for Thursday 8 November 2018.

 

Middle English Dictionary Renovation

Paul Schaffner

A year ago, we at the University of Michigan Library reported that the long-deferred revision of the online Middle English Dictionary and its associated resources had begun, thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (awarded under its Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program), as well as the University of Michigan Library, which has taken up the challenge of Michigan’s decades-long commitment to historical lexicography. Though no dictionary revision is ever complete, and least of all this one, we can now report that the immediate goals of the project have been met, and that our revision efforts have borne fruit in the form of a new online platform and interface, bolstered by improved and enlarged data. We have been making changes in all three of the components of the Middle English Compendium (Dictionary, Bibliography, and Corpus), but only the former two of three are getting the new interface, for now. The Corpus is merely getting new texts (roughly doubling the total, as well as expanding the genre coverage), but remains temporarily housed on the old interface.

Changes to the data underlying the Dictionary and Bibliography fall roughly into four categories: enlarging the content (more quotations, more senses, more entries, more works cited, etc.); updating the data (to reflect changes in scholarly consensus, and the recent appearance of reference works like the Digital Index of Middle English Verse and the Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English); correcting the data (where it was wrong or misleading); and ‘opening’ the data to make it less print-oriented and more computer-searchable.

Changes to the interface partly reflect changes in the data — for example, we now include a search by modern English reflex based on improved links between MED and OED; and partly reflect a more modern sensibility with regard to the user experience. We have given up the ‘90s look and embraced something a little cleaner and mobile-friendly, with some modern tricks like marginal facets (by part of speech, subject label, and language of etymon) and type-ahead word selection.

Finally, changes to the underlying indexing platform move the MED from an obsolescent, vulnerable and heavily customized one-off system to one employing modern and far more nearly off-the-shelf components, ensuring the continued viability of the site, as well as making it far easier to update regularly and frequently–something we intend to do.

The ‘old’ MED and the ‘new’ MED will run concurrently for a few months, at least till we work the bugs out of the new system (please report any you find), and probably till we add an ‘advanced search’ with cross-field Boolean options to the new system.

The URL for the new MED is: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/middle-english-dictionary/

What the new MED gains:

  • Changes to roughly 12,000 entries.
  • Draft additions to about 8,000 of those…
  • …including 10,000 additional quotations.
  • 2,000 wholly new entries (mostly in draft or ‘stub’ form).
  • A smarter, more modern interface, with some faceting.
  • A more informative results list, making it easier to choose the desired entry.
  • A (beta) lookup search by modern English reflex.
  • The expansion of many cryptic abbreviations; the resolution of 80% of the surviving blind (undocumented) bibliographic references
  • Improvement of the ‘other spellings’ search by resolving all those difficult-to-parse parenthes(es and -dashes.
  • More nearly comprehensive linking to OED and DOE.
  • Redatings of some manuscripts, done in coordination with OED.
  • About 350 works added to the bibliography, including most of the major editions of the past twenty years.
  • References to DIMEV and LAEME (from the Bibliography) and to J. Norri’s Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary (from the Dictionary).
  • About 150 additional texts in the associated Corpus of Middle English.
  • The ability to be updated as often as new material is available.

What the new MED loses:

  • Some of the more sophisticated but less used multi-field Boolean searches (at least for the time being).
  • Its frozen-in-time quality.
  • Its veneer of authority and comprehensiveness, since we are adding much semi-digested material without having the time to incorporate it fully; many ‘stub entries’ on the Wikipedia model, and many draft additions, all marked as such. Making the material available seemed important enough that it was worth exposing the fact (which was always true) that the MED, like almost any dictionary, is always a contingent set of surmises, always a semi-informed work in progress.

What will stay the same:

  • The same familiar structure.
  • The same text, aside from corrections, etc.
  • The same editorial principles.
  • A continuous editorial tradition (some of the same lexicographers).
  • An unchanged platform for the Corpus, at the moment, since it sits on a generic library text-serving platform that will be upgraded separately.

Work still in progress:

  • Ongoing correction and supplementation.
  • Identification and regularization of taxonomic ‘binomials’.
  • Identification of internal cross-references and implementation as links.
  • Identification and unpacking of cited phrases and compounds.
  • Expansion of the inconsistent lists of spellings.

 

With thanks to:

  • The U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities
  • The University of Michigan Library
  • Michigan’s MED gift fund

Staff: Paul Schaffner (editor, P.I.); John Latta and Mona Logarbo (editors); Robert E. Lewis (MED chief editor emeritus; volunteer editor); Evan David, Sarah Huttenlocher, and Alyssa Pierce (editorial assistants); Chris Powell (eagle-eyed retrieval specialist); Bill Dueber, Gordon Leacock, and Tom Burton-West (programmers); Ben Howell (interface designer); Bridget Burke (interface developer); and Nabeela Jaffer (implementation project manager).

 

Digital Johnson’s Dictionary

Beth Rapp Young recently submitted a proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund “Johnson’s Dictionary Online: A Searchable Edition of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language [1755, 1773].” If funded, Jack Lynch (Rutgers) will be the project’s Lead Editor, working with Young and her colleagues Carmen Faye Mathes, Amy Larner Giroux, and William Dorner at the University of Central Florida to create a digital scholarly edition of Johnson’s 1st [1755] and 4th [1773] folio dictionaries. The project will offer search functionality comparable to other modern dictionaries, and will be available at johnsonsdictionaryonline.com, replacing the crowd-sourced edition currently there.  The plan is to proceed in three stages: first, create a searchable 1755 edition; second, create a searchable 1773 edition; third, enhance the coding in both editions. Facsimile images of these volumes will be contributed by The Warren N. and Suzanne B. Cordell Collection of Dictionaries at Indiana State University. Also contributing to the project are consultants Marc Alexander (University of Glasgow) and David-Antoine Williams (St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo), and Advisory Board members Robert DeMaria, Jr. (Vassar), Mark Kamrath (UCF), Lynda Mugglestone (Pembroke College, Oxford), and Allen Reddick (University of Zurich). Funding decisions will be announced in March 2019.

Beth Rapp Young, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Central Florida

 

California State University, Fullerton Foundation
Fullerton, CA

Project Director: Timothy P. Henry
[Documenting Endangered Languages – Fellowships]
Project Title: Mitsqanaqa’n Ventureno-English Dictionary
Project Description: Research and analysis to complete a bidirectional dictionary of Ventureño, a dormant language of the Chumash family of central and southern coastal California, and English.
Outright: 25200 Match: 0