LINGUIST List 32.312

Mon Jan 25 2021

Confs: Applied Ling, Lexicography, Text/Corpus Ling/Online

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 25-Jan-2021
From: Ed Finegan <>
Subject: DSNA's 23rd Biennial Conference: Fitness of Our Dictionaries and Lexicography to 21st-Century Realities
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DSNA's 23rd Biennial Conference: Fitness of Our Dictionaries and Lexicography to 21st-Century Realities
Short Title: DSNA-23

Date: 04-Jun-2021 - 04-Jun-2021
Location: Virtual, USA
Contact: Ed Finegan
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Lexicography; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Meeting Description:

The Dictionary Society of North America is pleased to announce that its 23rd biennial conference will be held remotely on June 4, 2021, from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm North American Eastern Time (GMT 15:00 – 20:30).

Abstracts are invited for nine papers to be presented, three each on three panels, at the online-only DSNA-23 meeting. Each abstract should be centrally relevant to one of the panel topics described below and should specify the panel it is being submitted to. Presentations are limited to 15 minutes and must be pre-recorded. Each panel will have a 15-minute moderated live Q&A.

The organizers encourage submission of public-facing papers, with appeal to a wider audience than normally attends a DSNA conference. Short papers cannot attempt a state-of-the-art picture but should aim to describe or critique an aspect of the topic from a 21st-century perspective. All abstract submitters must be willing to pre-record their presentation and to be virtually present during the entire panel in order to participate in the Q&A. Authors of papers accepted for panel presentation will receive guidelines for preparing the recordings.

Note: Each set of panel presentations is planned to form the core of a forum to be published in Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America. In addition, papers based on select other submitted abstracts will be accepted for possible inclusion in the forum (all papers to be refereed in accordance with the journal’s practices).

Provision will be made for break-out rooms and a social hour following the formal conference.

A formal call for papers will be made later in January; submission deadline: February 26, 2021.

Program Information:

Introduction: Steve Kleinedler (Past President, DSNA)

Keynote: Dictionaries as Authorities: Can They Be and Should They?
Kory Stamper and Bryan Garner
Moderator: Lane Greene (The Economist)

1. How global and national events affect modern lexicography
Moderator: Ben Zimmer (Wall Street Journal)
2. Dictionaries in the public eye
Moderator: Anne Curzan (University of Michigan)
3. The future of dictionaries and lexicography
Moderator: Sarah Ogilvie (Oxford University)

A Life in Lexicography: Elizabeth Knowles (President, DSNA)

1. How global and national events affect modern lexicography
Online dictionaries are able to adapt speedily to rapid changes in vocabulary and usage. As an example, Covid-19 and the pandemic have spawned a range of new words and new applications for existing words, such as contact tracing, community spread, flatten the curve, PPE, social distancing, and Covid-19 itself. Who monitors these and similar developments for dictionaries? Who writes or revises the definitions? How do lexicographers keep up with global and national changes in vocabulary and word meanings? How does the proliferation of new vocabulary affect established lexicographical approaches? We welcome abstracts that explore any aspect of dictionaries and lexicography addressing lightning-speed developments in the lexicon.

2. Dictionaries in the public eye
Dictionaries continue to carry significant authority in the professional and personal lives of people in all walks of life and all stations. Courts in the US and Britain increasingly cite dictionaries as evidence for the meaning of even everyday words. Lexicographers and dictionary publishers now use social media in savvy ways to engage more users. Reporters are fascinated with new words and how they get into dictionaries, and they pay a good deal of attention to contests about words (e.g., WOTY, spelling bees, political gaffes). Teachers and students increasingly turn to online resources for authoritative word explanations and definitions – sometimes online dictionaries from established publishers and sometimes not. How do common understandings – or misunderstandings – of dictionaries and their authority manifest in how users approach these issues? What trends can we find in the attention to dictionaries in the public forum? How should dictionaries adapt to each of these audiences and common uses of dictionaries – or should they? We welcome abstracts that explore any aspect of dictionaries and lexicography in public forums or these questions in particular.

3. The future of dictionaries and lexicography
While a dictionary’s word list (entry list) and definitions have traditionally been the work of humans – lexicographers – they are now increasingly generated semi-automatically from large text datasets (corpora). New working models are emerging in which digital humanities, corpus linguistics, linked data, NLP, and machine learning are applied to the selection of illustrative quotations, disambiguation of word senses, choice of labels, and writing of definitions themselves. How efficient and accurate are these computational methods when compared to those of humans? Will human lexicographers always be needed? Will some computer programs be able to generate definitions on the fly and provide the information users expect? And will the notion of “the dictionary” need redefining as a result? We welcome abstracts that explore any aspect of the future of dictionaries and lexicography in general, or these questions in particular.

Page Updated: 25-Jan-2021