Our Conference in Bloomington is now history. The Fall Newsletter will be devoted to it. Please visit this site September 1 for a full treatment.

Note that Globalex Minutes are kept updated all year on the Dictionary News segment of the Newsletter.


We’re happy to report that registration for DSNA 22 (May 8-11, 2019, in Bloomington, Indiana) is open! Register at https://www.indiana.edu/~iucweb/dsna/

Attendance at DSNA 22 is open to members of the DSNA. If you aren’t sure about your membership status, contact the DSNA office at dsnaadmin@gmail.com. We encourage you to register early to guarantee your lodging preference.

We look forward to seeing you in May!

See https://dictionarysociety.com/conference/ for full details.


At the upcoming DSNA biennial conference in Bloomington, two awards will be presented. These awards honor colleagues of great distinction, and they are named for distinguished colleagues:

  • The Frederic G. Cassidy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lexicography or Lexicology will be presented to a longstanding member of the Society who has, throughout their career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by major achievements as a lexicographer in research or practice at the highest scholarly or professional standards. [Frederic G. Cassidy (1907–2000) was a Fellow of the society, editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of American Regional English, and, with R. B. LePage, editor of the Dictionary of Jamaican English. For a full account of his career, see the memorial article in Dictionaries(2001).]
  • The Richard W. Bailey Award for Distinguished Service to Lexicography and Lexicology will be presented to a longstanding member of the Society who has, throughout their career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by service to members of these fields and to the fields themselves. [Richard W. Bailey (1939–2011) was also a Fellow of the Society, as well as its Vice-President (1977–1979 and 1999–2001), President (2001–2003) and Past President (2003–2005). A fuller account of his career can be found in Dictionaries(2011).]

The members of the selection committee are Donna Farina, Steve Kleinedler, Katherine Martin, Lindsay Rose Russell, and Jesse Sheidlower. We welcome nominations for either or both awards from any DSNA member. Please email your nomination(s) to Steve Kleinedler by January 15, 2019 at dsna.stevekl@gmail.com . In the subject line please use Bailey Nomination: [Nominee] and/or Cassidy Nomination [Nominee].


2015: Gerald Cohen (Cassidy) J. Edward Gates (Bailey)

2017:  Lise Winer (Cassidy), Madeline Kripke (Bailey)


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
  • Glosses
  • 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 (orion@mdcclv.com)

Final submission deadline July 8, 2019. Publication date November 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.

Those interested in sponsoring the conference or conducting a pre/post-conference workshop, please contact the organizing committee at oc@elex.link <mailto:oc@elex.link> .

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 dsna.stevekl@gmail.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

Dear Colleagues,

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)
Web: https://ubc.academia.edu/StefanDollinger

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 ym.lacy.mls@gmail.com. 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.


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.

A recent study at https://providrug.com/ found that, despite a common misconception, Modafinil doesn’t act like amphetamines or methylphenidate (Ritalin). It should be noted that methylphenidate does not belong to the class of amphetamines, but in some aspects, it has a similar effect. At the same time, both methylphenidate and amphetamines are used for substitution treatment in patients addicted to cocaine.


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 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


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

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

Dictionary Society of North America Election Results 2017

Report of election of Officers and Board Members-at-Large

The Nominating Committee of the DSNA (Chair David Jost; Connie Eble, Michael Hancher) submitted the following ballot for 2017 and these are our new officers. A biography of each is given below. Steve Kleinedler, as present Vice-President/President-Elect, becomes President for 2017-2019. Stefan Dollinger and Lise Winer continue as Members-at-Large for 2017-2019.

Elizabeth Knowles began her career as a historical lexicographer at Oxford University Press in 1977, working as a library researcher for the second Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary. She was subsequently a senior editor for a major revision of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (4th edition, OUP 1993), when she was responsible for the dictionary’s historical research programme. She took over responsibility for Oxford’s quotations dictionaries in 1993, and has edited the last four editions of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (8th edition, 2014). Other editorial credits for OUP include What They Didn’t Say: A Book of Misquotations (2006) and How to Read a Word (2010). She has written and lectured on the history of dictionaries, and she served as editor of Dictionaries from 2010 to 2013. She is currently working on a study of quotations in the English language for Oxford University Press. She has been a Fellow of the Dictionary Society of North America since 2015.

Kory Stamper is an Associate Editor at Merriam-Webster. In her 19 years as a lexicographer, she’s worked on dozens of titles, including Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, and the new Merriam-Webster Unabridged. In addition to defining, she writes for the M-W website (www.merriam-webster.com), appears in their popular “Ask the Editor” video series, and presents on language and lexicography at both national and international conferences. Kory received her bachelor’s degree in Medieval Studies (with an early language/literature focus) from Smith College in 1996. Her first book, Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, was just released by Pantheon/Knopf, and she is working on a second nonfiction book about defining for Pantheon.

Peter Gilliver is an Associate Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary; he has been a member of the OED’s editorial staff since 1987. For much of that time he has also been researching and writing about the history of the project; his book The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary was published by OUP in 2016. He is also the co-author (with fellow lexicographers Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner) of The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (2006). He has been presenting papers on the history of the OED at the DSNA’s meetings since 2003, and has had several of these papers published in Dictionaries; he has also spoken and written widely elsewhere both on the history of the Dictionary and on Tolkien. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the LEME (Lexicons of Early Modern English) project.


Photo credit: Jean Pierre de Rosnay

Sarah Ogilvie is a linguist and lexicographer at Stanford University. She previously taught linguistics at Cambridge University (Alice Tong Tze Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College) and at the Australian National University (Director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and Chief Editor of Oxford Dictionaries, Australia). As a practical lexicographer she has written both diachronic dictionaries (Editor at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) responsible for World Englishes and words of non-European provenance) and synchronic dictionaries (she was Etymologist of the current Shorter Oxford Dictionary and has written several general desktop dictionaries in Britain and Australia, including thesauruses and children’s dictionaries). In addition, she works on endangered languages and wrote a bilingual dictionary and grammar of Morrobalama, an Aboriginal language of Australia. Technology is a large focus of her work and research and in 2012-2014, she worked on digital dictionaries and software for Amazon Kindle at Lab126, Amazon’s innovation lab in Silicon Valley. Sarah is originally from Australia where she studied for a BSc in Computer Science and Pure Mathematics at the University of Queensland and a MA in Linguistics at the Australian National University, before completing a doctorate in Linguistics at Oxford University. She is author of Words of the World: a global history of the Oxford English Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and co-editor of The Concise Encyclopedia of the Language of the World (Elsevier, 2008) and Keeping Languages Alive: documentation, pedagogy, and revitalization (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Katy Isaacs

Katy has retired from her role with the Newsletter. She edited 10 issues from 2008 to 2012, and assisted with the editing or production of 5 more between 2013 and 2016. The Society expresses its gratitude to her for her many years of service.

Katy says:

I would like to thank everyone who contributed, especially former Executive Secretary Lisa Berglund, who was unfailingly cheerful and helpful. Many of the issues would not have appeared were it not for her organizational skills. Staunch columnists David Vancil and Reinhard Hartmann filled many pages for me, and Michael Adams, Luanne von Schneidemesser, Joan Hall, Wendalyn Nichols, Rebecca Shapiro, Martha Mayou, and David Jost provided text, photos, technical and emotional support, and much needed nagging; thank you all.


Reports and News of Various Societies and Organizations

ACLS Report on the DSNA

Rebecca Shapiro, our Executive Secretary, wrote the following report for the ACLS. It was published with reports from other learned societies in a document entitled “Beyond the Numbers.” Here is her explanation of how she came to write this, followed by the report itself.

I felt compelled (really) to volunteer for this because we are one of the most unusual organizations in the ACLS because of the history of academics and working lexicographers. I have liked the practical, applied nature of what many people in the society do and how willing they are to share information. I have found myself explaining how different we are at the ACLS meetings because not only are we one of the smallest but we are such an interesting hybrid group of practitioners and scholars, some of whom are both. So, when the leadership asked for a representative from a small organization, my hand went up.

Dictionary Society of North America

Rebecca Shapiro, Executive Secretary

The membership of the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA)—a mix of academics, practicing lexicographers, and others who work with words and word usage—come from over forty countries, with the majority working in the United States and Canada. They are scholars of dictionaries, librarians, booksellers, translators, linguists, publishers, writers, book collectors, journalists, lawyers, and people with avocational interests in dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauri.

Challenges. Like many smaller societies, the DSNA confronts major economic and technological concerns. Membership in the DSNA has declined in recent years, from over 350 eight years ago to about 200 today. To some extent, our relationship with Project Muse, the digital publications database which provides online access to our annual journal, has offset the reduction in membership income; new online revenues now also cover publishing costs. Ironically, while that income has greatly exceeded our expectations, it may also be reducing membership: some of our academic members, who can now receive Dictionaries online through their libraries, have decided to drop their DSNA memberships. Likewise, some libraries that were DSNA institutional members have dropped those memberships because their Project Muse subscriptions provide what is for them the primary benefit of DSNA membership.

DSNA’s membership has always included a significant number of working lexicographers—professionals who create dictionaries and thesauri—in addition to academics and those in allied fields. In recent years, the lexicography industry has been deeply affected by increased free access to dictionaries online, as well as by the consolidation of publishing companies and a shift from full-time workers to freelancers. This shrinking workforce has reduced our membership numbers, which in turn has diminished the interaction of professionals working in the field with professionals studying the field.

One of the society’s strengths—having many long-term members—carries with it a weakness: many who have been members for decades are retiring, and we have been less successful than we had hoped at attracting new, younger members to replace them. There are several reasons. The gateways to our field are closing: lexicography is taught at fewer institutions than in the past. Our every-other-year conference schedule and annual journal allow people to lose track of us, and annual journals are not cited or indexed as widely. And we have only one paid staff person—a non-member—to follow through on day-to-day capacity-building and membership development.

New strategies. DSNA is now working to increase membership, improve the content and impact of our publication, and achieve greater visibility and relevance.

We have convened a membership committee to make fundamental changes in how we conduct member business in order to create more interest in our society and more benefits attendant to DSNA membership. These include making radical changes in membership categories and fees, and shifting the DSNA blog to a proper website. The editor of Dictionaries has been working to improve its ranking and citation rate and is considering twice-yearly publication to increase website traffic and general visibility. While making money will require spending money, we believe the costs will be well worth it.

In addition, our leadership connected with the American Dialect Society and the Linguistic Society of America and has become part of the “Word of the Year” program in January 2016. Specifically, the DSNA sponsored, based on recent usage, a “Word to Watch” for the upcoming year as a complement to the retrospective Word of the Year that the Dialect Society has designated for almost 20 years. The Word to Watch for 2016 is “ghost”: to disappear electronically from someone’s life or to make a person disappear electronically from someone’s life. We hope to make similar connections with other allied societies.

We are starting to host regional symposia to generate interest and to share ideas, information, and contacts. The first took place in January 2016 in New York City, and others are being considered for Boston and Philadelphia. DSNA members in the New York City area named their group MetroLexNYC, and groups with similar names will hopefully be founded elsewhere. MetroLexNYC planned a flexible and informal program, with just three presenters; we will test these and other format innovations at future gatherings. The initial response to the event indicates great interest in the format—indeed, after a huge snowstorm, almost 40 people attended. We plan to host quarterly gatherings to maintain interest between conferences and to encourage attendance from lapsed and potential new members.

The DSNA connects with its membership through a semiannual newsletter that provides information about the Society and its members, dictionaries or lexicographic research in progress or recently published lexicography courses and workshops, and recent or forthcoming conferences of lexicographic interest. We also publish the annual Dictionaries, which contains articles on issues relevant to the Society; notes and queries on the making, critique, use, collection, and history of dictionaries; descriptions of significant dictionary collections; reviews on books about lexicography or closely related topics; and bibliographies.

Programs. The Society meets every other year to present and hear papers about dictionaries. Occasionally, the Society holds meetings with related societies, such as the Society for the History of the English Language. Attended by roughly 100 people, our conference holds only one session at a time, engendering a collaborative atmosphere.

About DNSA. The Dictionary Society of North America was founded after a 1975 Indiana State University colloquium, “Research on the History of English Dictionaries.” It was admitted to the American Council of Learned Societies in 1994. Its principal publication, The Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, is published by the Dictionary Society of North America.

For more information about the Dictionary Society of North America, visit www.dictionarysociety.com

(Rebecca Shapiro, Executive Secretary)

Intellectual and Social Feasts: DSNA at the American Council of Learned Societies in 2015 and 2016

The American Council of Learned Societies is likely familiar to DSNA members principally through its fellowship programs, which ACLS supports to the tune of millions of dollars each year. As an organization of societies, Council members are humanistic and humanities-oriented social science groups including, since 1994, DSNA. Constituent societies are represented by delegates, one each, who gather each year for an intellectually and, yes, socially stimulating 48 hours in May. Among delegates to societies other than our own, time and shared wisdom with dozens of colleagues representing other groups, including members of DSNA attending on behalf of other societies, is a privilege.

Besides meetings among ACLS officers and directors, a formal assembly of the delegates occurs, roll call and all, with ballots and voice votes. In 2016, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was approved as a constituent member of the Council, and the name of the Conference of Administrative Officers, an arm of ACLS, was changed to Conference of Executive Officers (CEO). CAO, now CEO, meets twice each year, including immediately following the annual ACLS meeting. CEO has recently produced two fact-filled booklets: “Learned Societies by the Numbers: 2015” and “Learned Societies Beyond the Numbers: 2015,” available at the ACLS website.

Among meeting highlights are the report of President Pauline Yu and presentations by other speakers, some representing ACLS fellowship holders, others addressing a topic ACLS has identified for discussion. At lunch on the main meeting day, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities William “Bro” Adams offered sobering comments in 2015 and in 2016. In 2016, breaking with past practice, instead of an afternoon panel of scholars before the delegates, Pauline Yu engaged in a conversation with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, who characterized himself as “a slightly off-kilter gay black man”; in a gently personal vein, he spoke chiefly of capitalism and inequality, and answered questions posed by Pauline Yu and by delegates in the audience. The format was a welcome change from some previous presentations by distinguished panelists sometimes rather less in touch with the interests of a wide range of delegates than delegates wished. The conversation between Yu and Walker is available for viewing at the Council’s website. Both years there were also breakout sessions addressing matters ranging from adjunct faculty to creative approaches to annual meetings, and I’ve shared the report of that last-mentioned session with DSNA officers and this year’s biennial conference organizers. The report, and all others, are available at the ACLS website.

Immediately preceding the Friday night banquet each year, delegates are treated to a different kind of feast: the Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecture. In 2015, in Philadelphia, Wendy Doniger of the University of Chicago spoke about her life in learning, including a run-in with conservative Hindus in the U.S. and India who were displeased with her particular focus on ancient texts. “It never occurred to me,” she confessed, “that I could possibly make anyone mad at me by writing, full of appreciation, about Sanskrit texts whose authors had been dead for thousands of years. How foolish I was.” In 2016, in Arlington, Virginia, Cynthia Enloe of Clark University, reflecting on her life in learning, concluded with these observations: “Feminist puzzling never stops. Feminist learning never stops. That is the good news.” These two distinguished scholars grew up at about the same time in homes a mere three miles from one another (as I’ve calculated), but their lives as girls, as women, and as scholars and teachers could hardly have differed more. To see and hear, or read, remarkable tales about lives in learning and to experience model presentations devoid of slides and handouts, don’t overlook those of Doniger and other Haskins lecturers, available at the ACLS site.

(Ed Finegan, DSNA delegate to ACLS)

Real Academia Española

The noted lexicographer and long-time member of DSNA, Paz Battaner, formally took her seat “s” in the Real Academia Española (‘Spanish Royal Academy’) on January 29, 2017. She is only the eleventh woman, and the first female lexicographer, to be elected to the Academy in its more than 300 years of history.

Originally from Salamanca, where she studied with several major figures in Spanish linguistics (Alonso Zamora Vicente, Fernando Lázaro Carreter and Antonio Tovar, among others), Paz Battaner taught at several Spanish universities, including the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, and Pompeu Fabra University. She has always been interested in words, and her Ph.D. dissertation dealt with political language in 19th century Spain (Vocabulario político y social en España, 1869-1873. Madrid: Anejos del Boletín de la Real Academia Española, 1977).  In the 1980s she began working with the Spanish dictionary publisher Vox, and was the academic editor-in-chief of a children’s dictionary (Diccionario de Primaria (9-12 años), 1998). That was followed by Lema (Lema. Diccionario de Lengua Española, 2001), a desk dictionary that covered peninsular Spanish, and Diccionario de Uso del Español de América y España (2002), a desk dictionary that expanded on Lema by including vocabulary used in Latin America.

The Real Academia Española was founded in 1713 in Madrid and since 1780 has published 23 editions of its dictionary of standard Spanish, the current Diccionario de la lengua española being published in 2014. The Academy has 46 elected members, who must present an academic (literally!) lecture upon accepting their chair; Battaner’s was entitled Algunos pozos sin fondo en los diccionarios (‘Some bottomless pits in dictionaries’). Members include university professors and writers (two well-known writers who are current members are Mario Vargas Llosa and Arturo Pérez Reverte). In addition to Battaner, several current members of the Academy have directed or been directly involved in large dictionary projects. The Academy has not always been so welcoming to lexicographers: in 1972, it famously rejected the candidacy of María Moliner, author of one of the most widely respected, and widely used, dictionaries of Spanish.

(Janet DeCesaris, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona)


The GLOBALEX Workshop on Lexicographic Resources and Human Language Technology (http://ailab.ijs.si/globalex/) took place as part of LREC 2016 at Portorož, Slovenia on May 24 and constituted the first live step in forming an overall global constellation for lexicography. The initiative was launched nine months earlier at a meeting held during the fourth eLex conference in the UK in August 2015, and has drawn the support of lexicographic associations worldwide.

The full-day workshop was sponsored by the associations for lexicography of Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America (Afrilex, Asialex, Australex, Euralex, DSNA), and the eLex conference series on electronic lexicography in the 21st century. It set out to explore standards for lexicographic resources and their incorporation in new language technology and other solutions as part of knowledge systems and collaborative intelligence. The workshop was attended by about 60 participants, included 16 twenty-minute sessions and concluded with a roundtable about the future of Globalex.

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.

It is hoped that Globalex can facilitate knowledge sharing and cooperation among its members and with others concerned with language and language technology, promote the creation, research, exchange, dissemination, integration and usage of lexicographic resources and solutions, and enhance interoperability with the academia and industry worldwide.

The roundtable featured short interventions by a representative of each organization, including one by video and another by Skype, presenting their association and vision of Globalex, followed by a discussion with the audience. The main issues concerned the aims and obstacles facing Globalex, its organization, operation and meetings. The conference models ranged from dedicating a section to Globalex at the continental conferences, and alternating Globalex conferences with those of the different associations, to holding Globalex conferences on their own every few years.

The organizers have agreed to contribute to the new Globalex website http://globalex.link/, which begins operation this month. More details appear on page 4, and a reprint of Towards Peoplex, from 1997, is available on page 18, Kernerman Dictionary News, Number 24, July 2016 found at http://kdictionaries.com.

The African Association for Lexicography (Afrilex) was established in 1995 after a feasibility study for a lexicographical institute for Southern Africa indicated a keen interest in a unifying body among lexicographers and members of related professions. Dr Reinhard R.K. Hartmann chaired the inaugural meeting, and officially announced the birth of a new member of the Lex family.

Afrilex is managed by a Board elected biennially by the members present at a General Meeting of the association. Membership is open to individuals and institutions who have an interest in lexicography. The current membership stands at 60 individuals and 8 corporate members. The board consists of the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, four non-officers and the conference convener.

The aims of Afrilex include the promotion and coordination of research, study and teaching of lexicography by means of publishing a journal, Lexikos, and other appropriate literature, organizing regular conferences and seminars that offer opportunities for exchange of ideas and for mutual stimulus to researchers and practitioners in the field of lexicography, and facilitating the participation in tutorials and training courses.

Afrilex seeks to develop cooperation with other international associations for lexicography as well as with local associations that are interested in the study of language.

The 21st annual International Conference of Afrilex is held in July 2016 in Tzaneen, South Africa.

Lexikos (ISSN 2224-0039) is the official mouthpiece of Afrilex, the editor being an ex-officio member of the Board. All contributions are indexed by the Thomson Reuters Web of Science Citation Index and are freely available online (http://lexikos.journals.ac.za/pub).

In its first twenty years of existence Afrilex has bestowed Honorary Membership on the following members: Prof. A.C. Nkabinde, Prof. Rufus Gouws, Dr Johan du Plessis, and Dr Mariëtta Alberts.


ASIA LEX The Asian Association for Lexicography

The Asian Association for Lexicography (Asialex) was established at the initiative of Gregory James and Amy Chi on 29 March 1997, during the Dictionaries in Asia conference at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, with the aim of fostering scholarly and professional activities in the field of lexicography and facilitating the exchange of information and ideas through meetings, publications, etc. Membership is open to any person or institution.

The first executive board was elected at that inauguration meeting, and the President, HUANG Jianhua, convened the first conference in Guangzhou (1999). From then on, elections were not held again, and usually the convener of each conference was named president for two years. The voting process was renewed in Kyoto 2011.

Asialex is governed by an executive committee that is elected for two-year terms, consisting of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and three more members as well as four ex-officio members including the immediate past president, journal editor, and conveners of next two conferences. Lexicography – Journal of Asialex is published biannually since 2014 by Springer, in print and online, and membership is connected to the journal subscription. Until then, the activity of Asialex focused almost entirely on holding biennial international conferences. In addition to conference proceedings, a newsletter appeared in the first years and collections of papers from two conferences were published as well. Since 2015, conferences started to be held once a year, with the tenth taking place in Manila 2016, and the next one due in Guangzhou in 2017.

The challenges facing Asialex and achieving its goals are inherent in Asia’s non-homogeneity on multiple levels. This vast geographical region is composed of different areas often disconnected from each other, and its enormous linguistic diversity is often under-resourced, under-researched or under-represented. Traditionally Asialex has had a stronger presence in the eastern parts and much less in central, south and western Asia. Overcoming the challenges would uncover and leverage their resourcefulness.


The Australasian Association for Lexicography (Australex) was founded in 1990 as a companion association to Euralex. It is committed to the development of lexicography in all languages of the Australasian region.

Its interests include:

  • dictionaries of all kinds
  • the theory of lexicography
  • the history of lexicography
  • the practice of dictionary-making
  • dictionary use
  • endangered languages
  • Revivalistics
  • terminology and terminography
  • corpus lexicography
  • computational lexicography
  • sign language
  • lexicology

Membership consists mainly of people from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, but also from many other countries, including Japan, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Zambia. Australex includes career lexicographers, students of lexicography, researchers into dictionaries, publishers, teachers and people who just like dictionaries.

The association is governed by a committee of 10 members, who are elected every two years during the biennial conference. It consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, five officers and the immediate past President. Membership is free.

Until 2009, meetings were held regularly every one or two years, in addition to specific conferences (e.g. on Australian placenames of indigenous origins) and workshops (e.g. on dictionary writing). Since then conferences have been held biennially, in either Australia or New Zealand. The next conference is planned for August 2017 in the Cook Islands. It is hoped that this location will extend the range of Australex and involve speakers of more language groups, particularly endangered ones. The conferences are usually small, which has the benefit of promoting close collaboration and networking, with the opportunity for delegates to attend most of the presentations. One or more student bursaries are offered to help with conference attendance.

Australex has one self-publication of peer-reviewed papers from its 2013 conference, entitled Endangered Words and Signs of Revival (2014).


The Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA) was founded in 1975 to foster scholarly and professional activities relating to dictionaries, lexicography, and lexicology and to bring together people interested in the making, study, collection, and use of dictionaries. DSNA’s principal activities include a biennial conference, a biannual newsletter, a website, and a journal. DSNA sponsors a lexicography course at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute and funds a fellowship for a student to attend. Occasional informal local meetings for members have begun, and outreach efforts to promote better public understanding of lexicography are underway. DSNA is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies.

A president, vice-president, and executive secretary are DSNA’s officers and with four elected at-large members constitute the executive board, with the immediate past president an ex-officio member. The journal and newsletter editors regularly participate in the conference calls of the board and report to DSNA’s publications committee each month. Other committees address finance, nominations, membership, etc. Currently, DSNA enrolls about 250 individual and institutional members. Dictionaries—DSNA’s journal—aims to represent the best research in lexicography and lexicology, including history, theory, and practice of lexicography, and the design and use of dictionaries and related works of reference. It publishes peer-reviewed articles, invited contributions, book reviews, reports of reference works in progress, and occasional forums. Published annually, it has in recent years averaged 285 pages; a move to biannual publication is under consideration. The journal is indexed in MLA Bibliography, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, and Linguistics Abstracts; all issues are accessible through Project MUSE.

DSNA derives its revenue from membership fees, journal royalties, and gifts. Student memberships are free of charge. Both financially and programmatically the biennial conferences are the responsibility of the host institution.


The series of conferences on electronic lexicography in the 21st century (eLex) was started in 2009 by Sylviane Granger in response to this emerging field. Initially, the conference (at Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) was conceived as a one-off event, however its success and calls from the lexicographic community for a follow-up prompted Iztok Kosem and Simon Krek to turn it into a biennial conference series. The subsequent conferences in Bled, Slovenia (2011), Tallinn, Estonia (2013), and Herstmonceux Castle, UK (2015) thus focused on different topical issues and attracted increasing numbers of participants from all over the world.

As eLex is not an association, it does not have an official board, a membership fee, etc, but there is an unofficial committee consisting of chairs of organisational committees of previous conferences. The committee offers local organisers of the next eLex conference advice on and help with organisational matters. Furthermore, members of the committee maintain the eLex website, which provides links to the webpages of all previous conferences, including proceedings, programmes and other relevant information on related activities.

The eLex conferences have always promoted interdisciplinarity, bringing together specialists in dictionary publishing, corpus lexicography, software development, language technology, language learning and teaching, translation studies, and theoretical and applied linguistics. There has also been a constant effort put into the dissemination of topical developments and issues in (electronic) lexicography among members of the community worldwide. An important part of achieving this goal have been videorecordings of the presentations and round tables which have been made freely available on the conference websites.

The next eLex conference will be hosted by the Institute of the Dutch Language and held in Leiden, the Netherlands, in the second half of September 2017. Further announcements with more detailed information will be made on the eLex website and posted on relevant mailing lists.


The European Association for Lexicography (Euralex) brings together people working in lexicography and related fields. In the rapidly-changing world of language analysis and language description, it provides a forum for the exchange of relevant ideas. Though based in Europe, Euralex has a worldwide reach and a worldwide membership. Its members include lexicographers, reference publishers, corpus linguists, computational linguists, academics working in relevant disciplines, software developers, and anyone with a lively interest in language.

Euralex holds a major conference every two years, and also sponsors smaller events on specific areas within the broader field. The first conference was held in Exeter, UK, in 1983 and since then there have been conferences on a regular basis in 13 different countries all over Europe – the 17th to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September in 2016. Euralex has created a digitized version of all the papers from its past conferences, freely available from its website.

Euralex maintains a discussion list for the exchange of views on anything of interest to people working in lexicography and related fields. The list is public and not limited to members. It also maintains a public Facebook page.

In cooperation with Oxford University Press, Euralex is responsible for the International Journal of Lexicography, a leading peer-reviewed academic journal that appears four times a year. Interdisciplinary as well as international, it is concerned with all aspects of lexicography, including issues of design, compilation and use, and with dictionaries of all languages, though the chief focus is on dictionaries of the major European languages – monolingual and bilingual, synchronic and diachronic, pedagogical and encyclopedic.

Euralex is governed by an executive board consisting of up to nine elected members, including four principal officers (President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer), elected at each general meeting from among its members. The general meeting is held in connection with the biennial conference.


(Ilan Kernerman)

The Frederic G. Cassidy and Richard W. Bailey Awards for 2017

The Frederic G. Cassidy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lexicography or Lexicology is presented to a senior member of the Society who has, throughout his or her career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by major achievements at the highest scholarly standard in one or both of those fields. The Richard W. Bailey Award for Distinguished Service to Lexicography and Lexicology is presented to a senior member of the Society who has, throughout his or her career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by service to one or both of those fields. The awards are presented biennially, for the first time in 2015, when Gerald L. Cohen received the Cassidy Award, and J. Edward Gates the Bailey Award. This year, a committee composed of Victoria Neufeldt, Allan Metcalf, Rod McConchie, Sarah Ogilvie, and me considered various candidates for the awards, and we are pleased to announce that Lise Winer will be the second recipient of the Cassidy Award and Madeline Kripke the second recipient of the Bailey Award.

Madeline Kripke has been collecting dictionaries since the 1960s; nowadays, she owns more than 20,000 of them. She first consulted dictionaries with practical ends in mind, but eventually, as Daniel Krieger reports in an article about Kripke in Narratively (http://narrative.ly/the-dame-of-dictionaries/), she “‘realized that dictionaries were each infinitely explorable, so they opened [her] to new possibilities in a mix of serendipity, discovery, and revelation.’” Her astonishing collection is not restricted to dictionaries but includes many other items of lexicographical interest. According to Krieger, she “has also amassed a wide variety of printed media, like old newspapers and magazines, such as the Police Gazette, which is chock-full of slang. She has boxed antique word games hundreds of years old, and a ton of ephemera, such as dictionary ads and prospectuses, postcards with dictionary content, order slips, brochures, advertising matchbook covers and blotters, circulars, and other rarities, like a long mimeographed sheet from a 1930s Philadelphia radio station that has a glossary of hipster slang that includes jitter sauce (liquor) and hepped (to be wise to things). ‘They have a historic and visual value,’ she says of ephemera, ‘and are often one-of-a-kind.’” Kripke knows all about each item in the collection: she is a remarkable bibliographer and historian of lexicography, and she has tutored many a scholar or lexicographer in her West Village apartment, where they consult with her as well as view items they can find there and there alone. Effectively, Kripke is the director of a private library and research institute and curator of its unparalleled collection. Professionally, Kripke started out in publishing, as an editor, copyeditor, and proofreader. A founding member of DSNA (see my account of the society’s origins in Dictionaries (2014)), she compiled the index for one of its early publications, Papers on Lexicography in Honor of Warren N. Cordell, edited by J. E. Congleton, J. Edward Gates, and Donald Hobar (1979). In a letter to James Rosier, who was then Vice-President of DSNA, dated December 31, 1983, Secretary-Treasurer Gates wondered “whether an index would be desirable for Dictionaries 1-5? We might be able to persuade Miss Kripke to do it.” In the end the journal’s second editor, William S. Chisholm, compiled a retrospective ten-year index for the 1990 issue. Miss Kripke missed a chance there but since she has taken every opportunity to serve DSNA and its members in constructive, quiet ways.

Lise Winer is Professor emerita of McGill University where she taught and served as director of graduate studies in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. She is the pre-eminent scholar of the English creole of Trinidad and Tobago, about which she wrote in Trinidad and Tobago (John Benjamins, 1993) and in the marvelous collection, Badjohns, Bhaaji, and Banknote Blue: Essays on the Social History of Language in Trinidad and Tobago (University of the West Indies Press, 2007). She was lead editor of four nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Trinidadian novels in the University of the West Indies Press’s “Caribbean Classics” series. Her crowning and most obviously lexicographical achievement is the monumental Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago: On Historical Principles (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008). Philip Baker, in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2013), wrote that “Winer’s dictionary must surely be the largest and best yet produced of the primary language of any Caribbean island, and will undoubtedly be the envy of others. It is, however, unlikely that anyone else will be willing to spend the vast amount of time necessary to compile, alone, a dictionary of comparable quality,” for Winer’s dictionary is, amazingly, a solo venture. Susanne Mühleisen concurs in English World-Wide (2011): “Noah Webster did not make it to Trinidad, as The Mighty Conqueror [Leroy Paul] laments in the last part of his calypso [“The Trinidad Dictionary,” which Winer uses as the dictionary’s epigram] (“As you should see you can’t disagree with me, / Webster should have gone to Trinidad / To complete his dictionary.”), but Lise Winer certainly did. Her dictionary is an outstanding accomplishment and a significant contribution to the field of dictionaries in varieties of English in general and to the study of Caribbean English / Creole languages in particular.” Alas, Noah Webster was born too early to join the Dictionary Society of North America, but as Winer and her dictionary prove, he isn’t the only great North American lexicographer.

The awards are meant to honor colleagues of great distinction and they are named for distinguished colleagues we should not forget. Frederic G. Cassidy (1907-2000) was a Fellow of the society, editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of American Regional English and, with R. B. LePage, editor of the Dictionary of Jamaican English. For a full account of his career, see the memorial article by Joan Houston Hall in Dictionaries (2001). Richard W. Bailey (1939-2011) was also a Fellow of the Society, as well as its Vice-President (1977-1979 and 1999-2001), President (2001-2003), Past President (2003-2005), and was the first editor of Dictionaries (1979-1989). A fuller account of his career can be found in Dictionaries (2011).

(Michael Adams)


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)

Memorial to J. Edward Gates

Ed Gates, the founder of the DSNA, died on December 24, 2015. Remembrances were published in the Spring 2016 issue of the Newsletter, but more can and needs to be said about someone who has meant so much to the Society. This issue is dedicated to him and contains four more remembrances of him. They begin with a statement by our current president, Luanne von Schneidemesser, continue with statements by colleagues of his at Indiana State University, and close with his own words.

Ed Gates and David Jost in 2001 at Ann Arbor, Michigan

Edward Gates, Founder of DSNA

Ed Gates, the force behind the founding of the DSNA, died on Christmas Eve, 2015, as reported in the Spring 2016 Newsletter.  He did not manage to write a history of the Society as he long wanted to do (see Victoria Neufeldt’s DSNA Fellows Profile “J. Edward Gates: Living History” in the DSNA Newsletter of Spring 2006), since he was suffering from the effects of a stroke in the last few years of his life.  I’m sure if he had, he would have modestly downplayed his important role in the founding and support of the Society throughout its existence.  Michael Adams’s excellent article, “The Dictionary Society of North America: A History of the Early Years (Part I)” relates most completely all the work Ed did in undertaking to develop an interest in lexicography and found the Society.  If you as a member of DSNA have not yet read this history and Ed’s role, you can read it in your 2014 volume of DSNA’s journal Dictionaries, pp. 1-35.

I came somewhat late to the DSNA.  I started working for the Dictionary of American Regional English in 1978, when still a grad student. I don’t recall what year I joined DSNA, probably around 1985; I soon became a life member.  The first conference I attended was at Case Western Reserve University in 1995.  I wanted to see what such meetings were like, how they were run, since I knew that DARE and UW-Madison were to host the meeting in 1997.  In Cleveland I met Ed and Marion; he was Vice-President of DSNA and took over as President after the Cleveland meeting, probably the only position he hadn’t yet held in the organization. (OK, so he was president, of the precursor of DSNA, the Society for the Study of Dictionaries and Lexicography which he and others formed in 1975, before the decision on the name was made and before a constitution was ratified in 1977.)  I became Sec.-Treas. in 1998.  He was just what I needed as a novice at the job.  He could answer all my questions, knew everything, could anticipate what I would need to learn.  I sent most queries received from individuals on to him to answer because he could and when I just took over I couldn’t.  Ed came to Madison in May of 1999, before the Berkeley meeting, and we hashed out the agendas for the meetings and in general went over things, and I learned even more about the Society.

Ed was the embodiment of the DSNA.  In the Spring 2015 newsletter it was announced that Ed was the recipient of the inaugural Richard W. Bailey Award for Distinguished Service to Lexicography and Lexicology, as Michael Adams, President at the time and instigator of the award, wrote, an award to be “presented to a senior member of the Society who has, throughout his or her career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by service to one or both of those fields.” (p. 3) No one fits that description better than Ed. No one deserved the award more than he. I have remained in touch with Ed and Marion, especially in recent years.  I called them after the award was announced in the newsletter.  Marion called me when Ed received the actual award in the mail.  He was so pleased and proud!  I was so touched at his joy.  A kind, gentle, modest man who has affected the lives of so many.  Thank you, Ed, for all you’ve done, for being you.  I think of you frequently and will stay in touch, Marion.

Ed’s interment took place in Boston on August 22.  David Jost attended, as a friend and as a representative of the DSNA.

(Luanne von Schneidemesser)

Marion Gates and David Jost at the reception following the committal service, August 2016

Some memories of Ed Gates

The first time I entered Ed’s office in the fall of 1980, I could see evidence of his lexicography everywhere.  Although we had large offices that had started as double dorm rooms, Ed’s two closets were crammed with boxes of files; his shelves were filled with dictionaries, and his office had handmade boxes of the little slips of paper lexicographers used to use.  His wife, Marion, having just stopped teaching nursing, was there helping him file his recently-made slips.  Ed made room for me so we could sit at a tiny typing table, which was also the location of linguistics committee meetings.

Ed had arrived at Indiana State three or four years before me as the result of the establishment of a Master’s in Lexicography and Lexicology and the multiple donations of thousands of dictionaries and generous funds by Warren and Suzanne Cordell.  While the Master’s program went through many transitions, and is now a Master’s in TESL/Language Studies, the Cordell Collection has expanded to over 20,000 volumes in what I believe is the largest dictionary collection in the world (see https://library.indstate.edu/about/units/rbsc/cordell/cordell-idx.htm). Ed introduced me to the collection and opened my eyes to the amount of work involved in lexicography. His own donations of dictionaries to the Cordell Collection inspired me to donate many of mine also when I retired last year.

In addition to being a careful, diligent lexicographer, Ed was also quiet and methodical in his other work and in his life.  When he retired, he brought boxes and boxes of labeled files to my office.  They contained all of the records of not only his time at Indiana State, but also the archived syllabi, lectures, exercises, and tests, both handwritten and mimeographed, of the previous faculty who had taught linguistics before him. It was so characteristic of Ed to keep everything from committee notes to letters.

After Ed and Marion moved to Massachusetts to be closer to their children, we kept in touch, and I was able to visit them several times at their lakeside house near the Quabbin Reservoir. There too, Ed had many dictionaries and continued to work for the DSNA. There too, Ed kept a meticulous paper record of his grandson’s atypical language acquisition. There too, Ed and Marion ate a weekly schedule of breakfasts, eating eggs, oatmeal, etc. each one day per week.

Our correspondence ended when Marion wrote that they were moving into assisted care, but I am extremely thankful for all of the years of working together, learning from each other, and friendship we had.

(Leslie Barratt, Professor Emerita of Linguistics, Indiana State University)

Memories of Ed Gates

I arrived at Indiana State University in the summer of 1986 as the newly appointed Special Collections department chair, knowing very little about the Cordell Collection. Later, in consulting a library textbook I used in 1973-74, I found that the collection had already been listed as a unique resource. Only little by little did I find out about Ed Gates’s role in developing the collection in its formative phase and his key role in the establishment of the Dictionary Society of North America. He was a very modest person; he did not brag.

Of course, I began to read extensively about dictionaries and almost immediately sat in on a graduate course Ed taught as part of the master’s degree in English specializing in lexicography—a course he established at Indiana State University. We used classic texts in the field, including Sidney Landau’s important book, along with examples from the Cordell Collection. While there are a number of such programs in the country now, I believe Ed was a pioneer in establishing a hybrid professional program in lexicography in a U.S. institution of higher learning.

Of course, Ed invited me to join the DSNA. Even after his retirement in 1989, I enjoyed seeing him in attendance at the biennial meetings.

Ed and Marion took me into their home and invited me to their church. He and Marion often enjoyed a festive Sunday luncheon afterwards. They lived modestly together in Terre Haute for 19 years before returning to Springfield. I missed his counsel and friendship after his departure.

(David Vancil)

The Wisdom of Ed Gates

I was unhappy with some of the review editors’ revisions [of Gates’s copy for religious definitions in Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (W7)]. One was a change in my definition of the religious sense of love. In W6 this was defined as “the benevolence attributed to God as being like a father’s affection for his children; also, men’s adoration of God.” That seemed to me not to cover the love Christians are to have for each other. After hours spent trying to define this to match the understanding of the word in Christian theology, I filed this definition: “self-giving concern for others that freely accepts another in loyalty and seeks his good regardless of the cost.” When the copy came to the office in page proof, I checked on this definition and found that “self-giving” had been changed to “unselfish” and “regardless of the cost” had been deleted, greatly weakening the definition, it seemed and seems to me. In W8, the whole sense vanished, being restored only in W10 as “brotherly love.” Today an editor might also be concerned to make this definition gender neutral.  (Edward Gates, 1994. The Lexicography of Religious Language. Dictionaries: Journal of The Dictionary Society of North America 15: 94.)

What role can organizations like DSNA and EURALEX have in fostering teaching about dictionaries and reference science? They can support instruction in the role and use of dictionaries on all levels of our educational systems. They can, as EURALEX has done, sponsor or co-sponsor workshops and other special events at which people considering lexicography as a profession can test their interest, those planning to make dictionaries as a scholarly specialization or as a career can gain basic skills, and working lexicographers can share problems and solutions. They can cooperate with organizations of elementary and secondary teachers to hold workshops on teaching dictionary use. They can cooperate with teachers of modern languages and of English as a second language to hold workshops on the use of dictionaries. Workshops for teachers would include a survey of available dictionaries and teaching materials, criteria for assessing them, and methods of instruction in dictionary use. (Edward Gates, 1997. A Survey of the Teaching of Lexicography. Dictionaries: Journal of The Dictionary Society of North America 18: 89.)