Newsletter Spring 2024

Table of Contents

Society Announcement: DSNA25 in Buffalo

Buffalo State University and the University at Buffalo will host the 25th biennial meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America, May 28–31, 2025, in Buffalo, New York. Conference chairs Lisa Berglund and Walter Hakala are already planning an exciting conference in celebration of the Society’s 50th anniversary!

President’s Message

Though it’s an “off” and conference-less year for the DSNA at large, there are some big changes afoot.

The first and foremost is that Dictionaries, our journal, will be joining Project MUSE’s open-access pilot program, Subscribe2Open, or S2O for short. This innovative program will run from 2025–27, and all the issues of Dictionaries published during the program will be fully open access. In exchange, MUSE offers participating publishers a guaranteed minimum royalty for every year of participation. Our Executive Board and Publications Committee were both excited at the prospect of offering Dictionaries as fully open access to both researchers and contributors without the loss of income, or without placing an undue burden on contributors to pay a processing fee to have their article be open access. Individual DSNA members’ access to MUSE will remain unchanged throughout this program, meaning you will still have access to the MUSE archives as part of your membership. I would encourage you to read through Project MUSE’s fuller explanation of S2O.

Planning for DSNA25 has also been underway. We’re grateful to Lisa Berglund and Walt Hakala for undertaking the hosting in Buffalo next year and look forward to an excellent program.

And though we’re almost a year out from DSNA24 in Boulder, I continue to hear from members and participants what a fantastic conference it was—words like “inspiring,” “galvanizing,” and “life-giving” have appeared in texts, chats, and emails I’ve gotten since. On a personal note, it was deeply encouraging to me to meet and connect with a new group of “amateur” lexicographers; a balm to ease the pain of the continued contraction of traditional commercial lexicography in North America. The outstanding issue of Dictionaries that came out of DSNA24 and which was devoted to lexicography of North American Indigenous languages gives you a flavor of the kinds of issues facing the boots-on-the-ground lexicographers of under-resourced languages today.

You’ll hear more about what’s going on in this issue of our newsletter, put together by the stalwart team of Rachel Fletcher and Lindsay Rose Russell. Send them all your thanks and praise for their hard work!

Kory Stamper

Member & Dictionary News

What have you been up to? The DSNA loves to share news of member projects, publications, programs, and more! Please send your news to for inclusion; deadline for submissions for the Fall 2024 issue is Monday 26 August 2024. You can also see and share what’s happening on DSNA’s Member Forum, Facebook, and Twitter

A panel on eighteenth-century lexicography, featuring DSNA members Beth Young, Carol Percy, and Lisa Berglund, was on the program of the annual meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Toronto, April 3–6, 2024.

Beth Young (University of Central Florida) gave a paper entitled “Bad Words Not to Be Imitated: Usage Comments in Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755, 1773).” The paper builds on the Johnson’s Dictionary Online project (sponsored by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities), which has put two editions of this historic text online. The Johnson’s Dictionary Online digitization process has required the categorization of Johnson’s usage labels so that they can be marked properly within TEI-XML. The paper explained how this mark-up process was carried out, what it has revealed about Johnson’s attitudes towards language, and what aspects of Johnson’s comments have led scholars to such disparate conclusions about those attitudes—specifically, that usage labels are subjective (Wild), that the labels are subject to semantic shift (Mugglestone), and that the prescriptive/descriptive dyad itself is flawed (Wilton).

In a paper on “Dictionary definitions and social stereotypes: Hester Lynch Piozzi on vulgarityCarol Percy (University of Toronto) discussed Piozzi’s British Synonymy and her approach to defining conceptions of social and linguistic vulgarity. The paper examined Piozzi’s own use of “quite” (as well as of the word “vulgar”) and how her “quite” intersects with research on contemporary women’s usage, in fiction and in real life.

Lisa Berglund‘s (Buffalo State University) “Introvert, panegyrize, paralyze: Citing Hannah More in Walker’s A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary” examined John Walker’s selection of illustrative quotations and his unusual privileging of selections from Hannah More’s Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. More is the only female writer and one of the few contemporary writers, included in the lexicon. The paper investigated correspondences between More’s pedagogical theories and Walker’s principals of orthoepy.

Former DSNA Executive Secretary Rebecca Shapiro chaired the panel.

Lisa Berglund‘s annotated bibliography of Piozzi Studies is now available on the Buffalo State faculty research site.

There is no such field as “Piozzi Studies”—at least, not yet. For 250 years, scholarship on the eighteenth-century lexicographer, diarist, and biographer Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs. Thrale) has been desultory at best and at worst non-existent. Scholars who first undertook to analyze her life or edit her works were generally interested only in her relations with Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. Once feminist scholars began to champion the Bluestocking Circle, of which Mrs. Thrale was a peripheral member, Piozzi’s life and writings came to be taken more seriously. A significant milestone was reached in 2021 with the conference Celebrating Hester Thrale Piozzi (1741–1821). Still, while Piozzi has been the subject of three excellent biographies since 1940, there is no book-length analysis of her diverse and remarkable writing. Such scholarship as exists is broadly scattered among academic journals and collections.

This bibliography offers a comprehensive listing of published works by and about Piozzi, supplying a brief description of the argument of each essay or book and often a comment on its value to scholars. It is a work in progress that will be updated each January. Addresses of works available online will be added. Apart from dissertations and translations of Piozzi’s works into Italian and German, the bibliography includes only books and articles that Prof. Berglund has read.

Advice and corrections are welcome, as is information about works on Piozzi not yet included.

Dictionaries of the Scots Language announces a new editorial project and seeks advice from fellow dictionary-makers.

“Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) has recently increased its small editorial team and is now embarking on a project to create a formal DSL Editorial Policy. As with so many long-standing dictionaries, our current policy evolved over many decades and exists only in the heads of editors who are no longer with us. As this is our current team’s first attempt at such a policy, any advice from our fellow dictionary-makers would be greatly appreciated. If any of you would also be willing to share your own policy documents with us as guidelines we would be extremely grateful.”


In Memoriam: Patrick Hanks, 1940–2024

Patrick Hanksan Appreciation

Many members of the Society have been saddened to learn of the death (on February 1st) of Patrick Hanks. His contributions to dictionaries and lexicography are so great that I think any of us would feel intimidated at the prospect of trying to summarize him. So I don’t pretend that what follows does him justice, but I want to express, as well as I can, what a great influence he has had on me and how much I have enjoyed and benefited from knowing him.

Patrick attended our 2003 conference, at the University of North Carolina, and presented “Onomastic Lexicography.” He was present again in 2019, at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he presented “What is phraseology, why is it relevant to dictionaries, and why has it been neglected in traditional dictionaries?” He also spoke at the panel on problems in lexicography that host Michael Adams organized. Each of these represents a snapshot of his wide-ranging interests and expertise, but even altogether they do not suggest the breadth and depth of his dedication and industry in lexicography and lexical semantics. For that, I would refer the reader to the 16-page bibliography of Patrick’s work that appears in Gilles-Maurice de Schryver’s opening paper in A Way with Words: Recent Advances in Lexical Theory and Analysis: A Festschrift for Patrick Hanks. That paper begins, felicitously, with a quote from Patrick’s long-time friend and colleague, the late Adam Kilgarriff: “With Patrick around, it always feels that bit more likely that we shall get to the bottom of how language works.” Patrick’s writing has appeared in, and more often been cited in, Dictionaries and in the International Journal of Lexicography.

Patrick’s 2013 book from the MIT Press, Lexical Analysis: Norms and Exploitations, is perhaps the fullest expression of his central focus in the study of language, which was always evidence-based and firmly rooted in the study of corpora and other linguistic data. He was a pioneer in Corpus Pattern Analysis, a term that he coined and unpacked in a seminal 2004 paper. For working lexicographers, the best case study of Patrick’s approach can be found in his Pattern Dictionary of English Verbs (PDEV), an online resource. No one should undertake crafting a dictionary entry of an English verb today without consulting PDEV first: you may well find that Patrick and the team that has worked under him have already done all the heavy lifting in regard to evidence-based, intelligently informed sense division.

Long before the foregoing, however, Patrick had already planted the seeds of what has become his legacy. He was involved, along with the late Sue Atkins and Penny Stock, in the early stages of the COBUILD project, which pioneered the use of large language corpora to make dictionaries. He was also instrumental, and inspirational, for Adam Kilgarriff in the development of Sketch Engine, which is today (to my mind, anyway) the most indispensable tool available to the working lexicographer in any documented language. Patrick also worked for ten years (1990–2000) as chief editor of current English dictionaries at Oxford University Press. In that capacity he had vast and beneficial influence on a generation of English lexicographers, many of whom are still working today. Finally, Patrick devoted many years of work and study to onomastics, which resulted in his editorship of various volumes detailing the history of given and family names in the Anglophone world.

In light of all of the above, Patrick’s reputation and stature far preceded my personal experience of him. We met for the first time at the 2003 Durham conference. This was my first presentation at DSNA (“Long Distance Lexicography: A View from the Field”). I had a case of novice nerves and without slides or other allure for the audience, I simply read my paper aloud, in a time slot that didn’t seem propitious for the holding of attention: the last session of the day on the second day of the conference. Patrick approached me immediately after the session and lavished praise and enthusiasm for my observations. On that basis, I felt and hoped that I had met a new friend and colleague for life. I was not disappointed.

Over the years we kept in touch, mostly electronically but in person whenever circumstances permitted. He was always available for a consult on any lexicographic dilemma, large or small, via email. Aside from the two DSNA conferences mentioned above, the last time I saw Patrick was in London in 2018. We had lunch in the coffee shop of the Wellcome Collection (across the street from Euston Station in London, whence he had alighted) and we caught up on what each of us was up to. At that time, he was working (along with his many other projects) on the then-forthcoming second edition of the Dictionary of American Family Names (Oxford, 2022). I casually mentioned to him my own research on two British Isles lineages in my own family (surnames Hargraves and Ragland). In a flash he had whipped out his laptop and started poking into his database to see to what degree my own findings were in sync with his. So very characteristic of him; he never stopped working.

The Daily Telegraph published an obituary for Patrick on Feb 29th—it’s here. It fails to capture his essence, as much as I do. But I’m confident that those who knew him will understand that his work is really an underground spring that will continue to nourish all who work in semantics and lexicography for many years to come.

Orin Hargraves

In Memoriam: Philip M. Rideout, 1936–2024

Philip Munroe Rideout was born on June 24, 1936, and died on January 18, 2024, at the age of 87. He was a longtime member of DSNA, a publishing professional who specialized in educational materials and their marketing, and, later in life, a lexicographer.

Rideout grew up in Lynnfield Center, Massachusetts, and graduated from Williams College in 1958. While at Williams, he took to the stage in his senior year, in Jean Giraudoux’s Judith. He was an occasional scofflaw, as when Officer Emil A. Pryslos noticed in November of 1957 that Rideout’s car lacked the inspection sticker required then by Massachusetts law. Caught red-handed, he pled guilty and Justice Henry W. Kaliss levied a $3 fine.

Rideout appears to have been an excellent student. After graduating from Williams, he enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and he was scheduled to return to Lynnfield Public Schools for a semester through the Graduate School’s newly established internship program. He was interrupted by the United States Army, in which he enlisted before he was drafted, and completed his master’s degree once he was honorably discharged.

He landed at Cummings Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Addison-Wesley (absorbed by Pearson in 1988), becoming general manager in 1969 and president in 1975. He moved to Keystone Publications in the 1980s, and then joined College Marketing Group Inc. in 1997 as its vice president. He was 61 and would soon need something to occupy him in retirement. As it turned out, that something was lexicography.

Rideout had joined DSNA by 1983—he attended the 1983 biennial conference at the University of Delaware—and remained a member until his death. In 1996, while still with Keystone Publications, he published the first edition of The Newbury House Dictionary of American English: An Essential Reference for Learners of American English and Culture, followed in 1998 by The Basic Newbury House Dictionary of English, which targeted beginning and intermediate learners.

Newbury House, a Boston firm, had been acquired by Heinle & Heinle (now a Cengage imprint), and by the Newbury House Dictionary of American English’s fourth edition (2004), after Heinle had been bought by Thomson, “Heinle” had been added as a supra title: Heinle’s Newbury House Dictionary of American English, which remains the title of the dictionary to this day. The Basic dictionary underwent the same retitling for its second edition, also in 2004.

It’s possible that the original dictionary was a project of Keystone in cooperation with Newbury House—Keystone in the person of Rideout made the dictionary and licensed it to Newbury, which provided a brand, marketing, and sales. After his stint at College Marketing Group, indeed, by 1999, Rideout began to identify Monroe Allen Publishers as his employer — his largely uninformative LinkedIn page claims that he was a “writer” with the firm—and the 2003 imprint of the parent dictionary is attributed to that publisher, despite using the Heinle title, which suggests an arrangement similar to that of Keystone and Newbury.

Rideout’s dictionaries were fluid products. Later Newbury House imprints of the original dictionary introduced the “integrated thesaurus,” and the Newbury House Basic dictionary added value eventually with a “built-in picture dictionary,” and later Heinle imprints include a “grammar reference.” One size does not fit all learners of American English. And, of course, the learners are not proficient in English, so Rideout’s dictionaries were translated, both the original and the Basic dictionary into Chinese—with both People’s Republic and Taiwanese publishers—and Korean.

Rideout’s dictionaries came in for criticism, but in pendant essays in Kernerman Dictionary News (2003), Wendalyn Nichols noted that “Heinle & Heinle was the first US publisher to attempt an all-American ESL dictionary (the Newbury House Dictionary of American English), distinct from the Americanized ones coming from Britain, but it was written by one man [Rideout] and had no corpus input,” and Charles M. Levine pointed out that “Although Heinle is not a major dictionary publisher,” Rideout’s dictionaries were “giving Longman a run for its money in the Intermediate ESL market.” That seems a sufficient legacy in lexicography for one who came to it later in life. As a member of DSNA, he found expertise and support and, we hope, a camaraderie felt by most members, perhaps most especially by those who toiled alone.

Michael Adams

Upcoming Conferences

Publication Information

The DSNA Newsletter is usually published twice a year, in the spring and fall. It is currently edited by Rachel Fletcher and Lindsay Rose Russell. Associate Editor is Peter Chipman. Member news items can be sent to; please include Member News in the subject line.

Our Executive Director is Lindsay Rose Russell.

Send correspondence re membership, etc. to
Dictionary Society of North America
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608 S Wright St, Rm 208
Urbana IL 61801

This issue: Vol. 48 No. 1 (2024)
Cumulative issue #97