CALL FOR PAPERS
Vernacular Practices of Lexicography
Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America invites submissions for a special issue focused on practices of lexicography arising outside of professionalized or scholarly dictionary-making. Other disciplines describe as “vernacular” the everyday practices and products that coexist (and may preexist) alongside officially codified and valorized practices. Scant research addresses the topic even though, on the scale of human linguistic history, most “practices of lexicography” have taken place outside the context of professional lexicography.
What are practices of lexicography?
- Explanations of meaning, in formal definitions or by other, pretheoretical strategies
- Organization of words into alphabetical, thematic, or other lists
- Thematic or schematic arrangements of concepts (thesauruses, ontologies; alignment-chart memes, Venn diagram memes)
- Division of word meanings into senses and methods of indicating multiple senses
What is vernacular lexicography?
Most, if not all, of what happens on Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary; digital, crowdsourced, and other electronically mediated community dictionary projects; glossaries — the brief, usually simplified and topic-constrained, dictionary-shaped word-to-definition lists found in some books; dictionary-formatted creative works; dictionary-style texts that appear in marketing, consumer goods, and internet memes that may appropriate, subvert, or parody professional standards. The tropes of structure and content in these works reveal what everyday people notice (and don’t notice) about dictionaries.
Between vernacular and professionalized lexicography
- When did the professionalization of lexicography begin?
- What similarities and differences are there between the work of vernacular lexicographers today and the work of important pre-professional lexicographers such as Nathan Bailey and Samuel Johnson?
Insiders and outsiders in vernacular lexicography
Missionaries have documented the languages of the communities they work with and—though now trained by organizations like SIL (https://www.sil.org/training/lexicography)—missionary lexicography has historically been vernacular. What kind of lexicography arises when an endangered or minority language is documented, from the inside, by its native speakers? How compatible are diverse indigenous linguistic practices with (largely western) lexicographical traditions? Does adherence to present-day lexicographical standards erase essential aspects of such languages?
Inquiries and expressions of interest are strongly encouraged ASAP to special issue editor
Orion Montoya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Final submission deadline July 8, 2019. Publication date November 2019.
PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT: eLex 2019
Electronic lexicography in the 21st century
eLex conference series continues with a conference in the beautiful city of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Portugal. Please forward this announcement to any colleagues or lists that may be interested in the conference.
Dates: 1-3 October 2019
Venue: Vila Galé Hotel, Sintra, Portugal
Deadline for abstract submissions: 15 February 2019
Conference website: https://elex.link/ (more information available soon)
Language of the conference: English
Further information such as call for papers, keynote speakers, registration etc. will be made available soon. The authors of accepted papers will be invited to submit a full paper for the conference proceedings, which are indexed by SCOPUS.
Looking forward to seeing you in Portugal.
eLex 2019 organizing committee:
Tanara Zingano Kuhn, CELGA-ILTEC, University of Coimbra (head of the organising committee)
Margarita Correia, CELGA-ILTEC, University of Coimbra / University of Lisbon
José Pedro Ferreira, CELGA-ILTEC, University of Coimbra
Maarten Janssen CELGA-ILTEC, University of Coimbra
Isabel Pereira, CELGA-ILTEC, University of Coimbra
Jelena Kallas, Institute of the Estonian Language
Miloš Jakubíček, Lexical Computing
Iztok Kosem, University of Ljubljana / Jožef Stefan Institute
Simon Krek, University of Ljubljana / “Jožef Stefan” Institute
Carole Tiberius, Dutch Language Institute
Honorary Presidential Memberships for 2018: Call for Nominations
Honorary Presidential Memberships recognize outstanding professional lexicographers and lexicologists early in their careers by awarding four-year memberships to the DSNA. Additionally, for the first DSNA conference that a recipient attends during this four-year period, $400 will be awarded to help defray the cost.
Members of the Society are encouraged to nominate graduate students or professional lexicographers in the first five years of their careers for Presidential Memberships. Please send letters of nomination to Steve Kleinedler at email@example.com. In the Subject line, please put “Honorary Presidential Membership Nomination:” followed by the last name of the nominee. Letters should explain nominee’s lexicographical or lexicological interests, relevant activity and accomplishments, how sponsors see their nominees developing professionally, and why nominees should be members of the DSNA, in terms of both what the DSNA can do for the nominee, and what the nominee can do for the DSNA.
Please send nomination emails by September 30, 2018. Presidential Members will choose Founding Members or Fellows of the Society as their namesakes: so, a successful nominee might be, for instance, the Frederic G. Cassidy Presidential Member of the Dictionary Society of North America, if they so choose. Help us identify and recognize the next generation of DSNA’s leaders today!
Calling for Members for New DSNA Membership Committee
Earlier this year, the DSNA Executive voted to install a Membership Committee, for which I have taken the pro-tem lead.
We have seen in last year’s (very successful) attempt by David Jost (thanks a lot!) that a more active outreach is crucial for a healthy membership count. In this next phase, we would like to expand our efforts and attract new groups of potential members, for which I’d like to form a committee of 4-6 people that will report to the Board. If you’re interested to help decide, via the character of its membership so to speak, where DSNA will be heading, please be in touch. There are some ideas, but nothing is set in stone at all and I hope, very much indeed, that you will bring your own ideas to the table. Think: “DSNA in the 21st century? What do you need to do to stay/become (more) relevant?”
Please contact me if interested at Stefan dot dollinger at u b c dot c a.
Assoc. Prof. Stefan Dollinger, Ph.D, M.A.
Departments of English Language & Literatures, UBC Vancouver
Canadian English Lab, Director, UBC Vancouver
(located on unceded Musqueam Territory)
Middle English Dictionary Renovation
A year ago, we at the University of Michigan Library reported that 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).
For a complete run of Newsletters before 2017 click on the Resources tab.
Walter D. Glanze, R.I.P.
Yvonne M. Lacy, the daughter of Walter D. Glanze, one of the founding members of the Dictionary Society of North America, has informed us that he died last Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in New York City at the age of 89. If you wish to send condolences, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The obituary for Walter Glanze can be found here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=189262915
The Stanford Dictionary Lab
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.
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.
Nominating Committee Set
The nominating committee is now full: Michael Hancher (thru conference 2019), Connie Eble (thru conference 2019), Katy Isaacs (through conference 2021), and Sarah Ogilvie (through conference 2021)
Paean to dictionaries
Thanks to Lise Winer for sending this paean to dictionaries.
Alberto Manguel, The magical power of dictionaries. Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 12, 2018.
A Way with Words: Celebrating the Cordell Collection
Indiana State University has been celebrating what it calls its “Sesquicentennial Era,” from 2015 through 2020. ISU’s earliest incarnation, the Indiana State Normal School, was founded by the Indiana state legislature in 1865 but its doors didn’t open until 1870. In the midst of its festivities, on November 9, 2017, the university focused its attention on two jewels in its crown, both connected to lexicography and DSNA: the Joseph S. Schick Lecture Series and the Warren N. and Suzanne B. Cordell Collection of Dictionaries. On that evening, more than 130 members of the ISU community and a smaller group of DSNA representatives gathered in the Cunningham Memorial Library Events Area — familiar to those who attended the DSNA (2009) or ICHLL (2016) meetings at Indiana University — for a special event titled “A Way with Words.” DSNA was the event’s primary external sponsor
Joseph S. Schick, who taught in the Department of English at ISU for 30 years, endowed a lecture series on language, literature, and lexicography before 1900. To date, more than 200 scholars from around the Anglophone world have spoken in the series, including sometime DSNA members John Algeo, Richard W. Bailey, F. G. Cassidy, Jack Lynch, Jesse Sheidlower, and Allen Walker Read, who delivered the inaugural lecture in 1988. The Cordell Collection was established with a gift of 453 early dictionaries from ISU alumnus Warren N. Cordell in 1969. The collection now holds more than 30,000 volumes, as well as various archives and documents. As a tour guide for sponsors of the event puts it, “World renowned, it is the largest collection of its kind in the western hemisphere.” The collection spurred Edward Gates to organize two conferences on dictionary history during the 1970s from which DSNA was born (for more on which see my “The Dictionary Society of America: The Early Years,” parts 1 and 2, in Dictionaries 35 and 38(1)). Many once and future DSNA members — Dabney Bankert, Lisa Berglund, Monique Cormier, Giovanni Iamartino, Rod McConchie, Linda Mitchell, Chris Mulhall, Mira Podhajecka, Lindsay Russell, and John Taylor — have received grants to study in the Cordell Collection.
As a benefit of sponsorship, DSNA had a table for eight at the banquet that made up part of the evening’s program. Chairs at the table were filled by Michael Adams, Traci Nagle, Kevin Rottet, Lindsay Russell, Luanne and Mike von Schneidemesser, and Carly Bahler and Martin Maillot, two of Kevin’s graduate students. Prior to the banquet, DSNA representatives were given a special tour of the Cordell Collection and provided with the full-color, forty-page guide to the tour and collection, which includes “Remarks by Warren N. Cordell” — first published in Paul S. Koda’s A Short-Title Catalogue of the Warren and Suzanne B. Cordell Collection of Dictionaries 1475–1900 (1975) — and an annotated bibliography of the works on display in the tour, among them incunabula and early printed dictionaries and grammars of Balbi, Calepino, and Molina, as well as the newest addition to the collection, Johannes Tortellius’ De Orthographia dictionum e Graecis tractarum (1471), purchased partly with the event’s proceeds, including DSNA’s sponsorship. (Copies of the guide are available from Cinda May, Chair of Special Collections at the Cunningham Memorial Library — and DSNA member — at Cinda.May@indstate.edu.) DSNA representatives were taken behind the scenes, into the closed stacks, for a closer view of the collection.
After dinner, the assembled guests were treated to a presentation by DSNA member Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, co-hosts and co-producers of A Way with Words, a popular public radio show about word history, usage, and related matters. Questions and answers followed, full of humor and high spirits. As we like to say, a good time was had by all — unusually, this time, in the interest of lexicography. I’m tempted to write that there’s no better way for DSNA to celebrate its historical, continuing relationship with the Cordell Collection, but, really, there is: donate materials or send gifts to support it, or use its materials, indeed, even apply for a fellowship to study there intensively. Visit https://library.indstate.edu/rbsc/cordell/cordell-idx.html and https://library.indstate.edu/rbsc/fellow.pdf.
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 Anti‐Harassment 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.
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
American Heritage Dictionary News
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
News from DSNA Executive Secretary
As of 2/3/2018
- Our Twitter feed, @, has 1,597 followers.
- Our Wikipedia entry, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictionary_Society_of_North_America, could use some updating — preferably by several interested persons (Wilipedia prefers multiple authorship). And we should launch (and link) a separate Wikipedia page for Dictionaries, like that for IJL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Journal_of_Lexicography).
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 email@example.com. Send Member News submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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