DSNA Fall 2020

From the President

In my April message to DSNA friends and colleagues, I referred to the strange times we were in. At that point, Britain like other countries had just gone into lockdown; now as we all experiment with some form of emergence, the times hardly seem less strange. However, it does seem important to say that it has been and remains a key concern of the Board that work for DSNA continues on track. Since I last wrote, the current issue of our excellent Journal has appeared on schedule, and I am compiling this to meet the July deadline for our Newsletter.  Plans for our biennial in Colorado, June 2021, continue.

I want now to update you on one particular aspect of what we have been doing as a Board, as regards strategic planning. The Board is taking time to reflect on our core values, and consider how best the Society’s vision may be delivered in a rapidly changing world. What are the essential things we must do to achieve this; what are the additional things we might do?

We are committed to involving DSNA members in this process as much as possible. This is your Society. As a next step, our Executive Secretary will be sending out a short questionnaire to you. When you receive it (probably in early Fall) do please respond; we really want to hear your views.

Meanwhile, my renewed good wishes in what I suspect is a no less difficult time than April was. Thank you for all you do, separately and together, to ensure that our Society continues to flourish.

Elizabeth Knowles, President, DSNA

Globalex

Globalex virtual meeting 13 February. No Globalex MC took place in January of 2020. In attendance were Ed Finegan, Ilan Kernerman, Simon Krek, Dion Nkomo, and Lars Trap-Jensen.

This Report summarizes the meeting highlights.

Workshops

LREC. The deadline for LREC in May will be extended, with an expectation that appropriate papers submitted for the main conference will be directed to the workshop.

Afrilex. Dion has revised the call for the Globalex workshop. The unstable power situation in the area of the venue makes it infeasible to guarantee online attendance. Although Globalex in principle encourages more virtual attendance, there was agreement that it is wise to honor a host institution’s reluctance.

As for online possibilities in general, Ilan suggested that presentations could be pre-recorded to reduce technical problems. Simon suggested it would be in the spirit of Globalex for conferences to offer one entirely virtual session. Lars suggested a manual to sum up the experience and recommendations so far: available technical solutions, organisational factors to be taken into account: whether online participants should be able to attend/present/publish at a reduced rate, and so on. The manual could be available on the Globalex website for conference organisers. 

Euralex. Deadline for submissions is next week.

Ed reported that publications from the neologism workshop at the 2019 DSNA biennial meeting would be published in April.

Website

Owing to recent deadlines for ELEXIS deliverables, there has not been progress on work with Elexifinder. The ELEXIS deliverables are visible at https://elex.is/deliverables/.

Globalex virtual meeting 13 March. In attendance Ilan Kernerman, Simon Krek, and Lars Trap-Jensen.

This Report summarizes the meeting highlights.

Workshops

LREC general track received 11 submissions, about half of them well within the Linked Lexicography topic. Submission to the other two tracks ends today and authors will be informed about acceptance in due course. A second round of submissions is planned. If, as expected, the LREC conference is canceled, the accepted papers will be published.

Afrilex has sent out a call for papers, including for a Globalex “session” rather than “workshop” so as to avoid confusion with Afrilex’s traditional “workshops.” (Note that this year’s Afrilex conference has been postponed a year until 2021 in light of world events—see below at NB.)

Euralex The planned workshop at the Euralex meeting has had 16 submissions, though some are not strongly related to lexicography. The workshop will take place from 9 am to 1.30 pm, preceding the official opening of the conference. Besides papers presented there will be a poster session.

Elexifinder

No further development since February.

Miscellaneous

A new volume of Lexicon is due soon and will be added to the list of publications on the website.

Afrilex has launched its new website at http://www.afrilex.co.za.

NB: Globalex is part of a swiftly developing, swiftly changing, and increasingly dangerous world that each member of the MC and the organizations we represent must deal with. Since the March Globalex meeting, health risks and imposed restrictions around the world have led to developments among our Globalex members. The Asialex conference has been postponed to Oct. 31-Nov. 2 (2020), with the deadline for abstract submission extended to July 31. Afrilex has postponed its meeting planned for this year to a time in June/July of 2021. The Digital Lexicography meeting scheduled for June 10th in Copenhagen is uncertain.

The Globalex Management Committee (MC) met virtually on the 16th of April, the 12th of May, and the 11th of June. This report summarizes the major items discussed and the actions taken, combining the contents of the three meetings by topic.

Elexifinder, a service developed within the ELEXIS project, will offer smart ways of querying and finding relevant texts on lexicographical topics over a large number of articles. Elexifinder will help meet Globalex’s ambition to offer our associations, their members and the lexicographic community at large a central portal for access to information. Among various options, the MC agreed to implement a search window on the Globalex website, while keeping the Elexifinder service itself at the ELEXIS web domain (elex.is).

Globalex representatives. When Globalex was established and its initial group of representatives agreed by their associations, some terms were set at two and others at three years so as to ensure regular but not total change. The terms for representatives from Afrilex, DSNA, and Euralex expire this summer. Lars Trap-Jensen will serve a second term for Euralex; Ed Finegan will be replaced by a DSNA member whose location will allow simultaneous meetings with all members of the MC [Edward Finegan will be replaced in August 2020 by the new DSNA representative, Sarah Ogilvie.]; Afrilex representation is not yet settled. Ilan Kernerman continues for one more year as representative of Asialex, Julia Miller for Australex, and Simon Krek for ELEXIS.

Conferences and workshops. Owing to the challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, all planned meetings and workshops have been postponed or gone online.

  • Afrilex postponed to June/July 2021.
  • Euralex postponed to 7-11 Sept 2021.
  • Asialex provisionally postponed to October 31-Nov 2, 2020.
  • Globalex workshop planned as part of LREC cancelled; submitted articles have been published at https://aclweb.org/anthology/volumes/2020.globalex-1/.
  • Second Globalex workshop on lexicography and neologism in connection with Euralex postponed with the rest of the conference. Selected articles from the workshop will appear in a special issue of IJL, following IJL’s reviewing process, and other articles would be published as part of the conference proceedings.
  • The special issue of Dictionaries, Vol. 41.1, guest edited by Annette Klosa-Kückelhaus and Ilan Kernerman, contains eight of the thirteen papers presented at the lexicography and neologism workshop held at DSNA 2019. It is accessible at https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/42292.

Legal registration of Globalex. The members of the MC agreed to seek approval from their respective associations to establish Globalex as a legal non-profit organization, registered either in Denmark or the Netherlands. 

For an update on Globalex see https://www.lexicala.com/kdn.


Mysterious Disappearance of Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft: Part 1

Who doesn’t love a good mystery story? Here’s one of our own. Can you help solve it?

Twenty-three years ago, an article titled “Systematic Racism in Dictionaries” appeared in the Society’s journal. Its opening paragraph makes a claim about a topic that is of even greater scholarly interest today than it was in 1997:

“As if to reiterate Johnson’s famous definition of the lexicographer as “a harmless drudge” …, makers of dictionaries like to assert that they are echoes and mirrors of society. Such irresponsible, pseudo-objective descriptivism holds that the job of a lexicographer is merely to record meanings and usages where and how they occur. In reality, lexicographers are gatekeepers and code controllers of a patriarchal, sexist, ableist, ageist, elitist, exclusivist, and racist society.”

The author, one Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft, is identified in the Notes on Contributors as holding the Mary Daly Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Northern Manitoba but preferring to hang out near the University of Toronto. The note alleges that Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft grew up in Bell’s Corners, Ontario, attended Bryn Mawr and the University of California at Irvine, and earlier published a work called “How Now Brown Cow: Reclaiming the Matriarchal” in Brown University’s “Bovine Text series.” (Really, that’s what the bio says!)

Some Canadian readers of the newsletter will know that a Bell’s (or Bells) Corners exists in Ontario, and many readers will know that Bryn Mawr College, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Toronto, and Brown University continue to thrive and that, for undergraduates, Bryn Mawr has always been a women’s college.

As for a University of Northern Manitoba with an endowed chair in Women’s Studies and as for Brown University (not known for a special interest in dairy farming) publishing a Bovine Text series of monographs, anyone reading the biographical note might justifiably feel a tinge of skepticism. As a matter of interest for those who hadn’t heard of Mary Daly (my hand is raised), she was a self-described “radical lesbian feminist” and held a faculty position at the time at the Jesuit-run Boston College. (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/education/07daly.html)

At my request, Michael Adams searched the Society’s archives for correspondence between then journal editor William Chisholm and the article’s author; he found none. Nor have I found anything to document the existence of Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft or the University of Northern Manitoba or a Bovine Text series published by Brown University. (Okay, I didn’t think it necessary to check this last point.)

For a variety of reasons, some substantive, Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft’s article will interest (perhaps fascinate) newsletter readers. To whet your appetite for solving the mystery, I cite footnote 3 of the article. Ostensibly to clarify a reference to DARE – as though readers of Dictionaries would need clarification – Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft points out that the acronym should not be confused with an identical one representing an organization called “Dykes Against Racism Everywhere.”

I confess I hadn’t read “Systematic Racism in Dictionaries” until I received an inquiry from Gaston Dorren, author of Babel (Grove Atlantic, 2018) and Lingo (Grove Atlantic, 2014). He has recently completed a book called The Dutchionary, which treats English expressions and other terms containing the word Dutch, as does Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft’s 1997 article: hence Dorren’s interest.

Bill Chisholm was editor of the journal at the time, and it is highly unlikely that he would have been fooled by the nom de plume. More likely, it seems, he was in on the ruse.

I call this report Part 1 because a Part 2 will appear in the next DSNA Newsletter if readers with knowledge, insight, or interesting speculation about the identity of Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft share their views. I’d welcome any thoughts about the true identity of Beatrix Visser ’t Hooft.

Ed Finegan, Editor

Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America

Finegan@USC.edu.