The DSNA office will close 24 December - 15 January. During our break we occasionally check email and pick up snail mail, because we can't help ourselves. After all, we want to hear the American Dialect Society's final word on the word of the year.
The Annual International Conference on Language, Literature and Linguistics (L3 2012) has announced a Call for Papers for its next meeting, to be held 9-10 July in Singapore. For more information, visit the conference website.
Also published this month: A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: From Adûnaic to Elvish, Zaum to Klingon, the Anwa (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons, by Stephen D. Rogers (Adams Media Corporation). The Chicago Tribune published an amusing feature on the book which you can read here; I was particularly pleased to learn about "Molvanian. Created by three guys who wrote a faux travel guide, 'Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry,' it uses four genders: male, female, neutral and the collective noun for cheeses."
Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America is available at Project Muse. If you are a member of DSNA, you may access the journal there; please contact the office for your log in information.
If you prefer, individual articles may be rented or purchased at www.deepdyve.com.
If you attended DSNA's meeting in Montreal this past June, you will remember that the banquet entertainment included Christopher Devine's monologue portraying a door-to-door OED salesman. Here's another side of Chris's eclectic work: the Chicago Tribune has a long article on his project of distributing readable (Helvetica, natch), laminated signs to homeless people in Chicago. Or visit Chris's blog. I had overlooked an article about the project that appeared in last month's New York Times; the photo below is from the Times (Chris is the bespectacled fellow on the right).
In choosing the 2011 Word, the editors were following the electronic footsteps of their readers, who looked up "pragmatic" in increasing numbers during and following Congress's August debate over the debt ceiling. For more details, including comments from DSNA members Peter Sokolowski (Merriam-Webster editor at large) and Allan Metcalf (executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, which picks its WOTY next month), check out the AP wire story.
Our indefatigable editor Elizabeth Knowles has just informed me that this year's Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America has been shipped to our members. If you don't receive your copy in the next three or four weeks (give it time, in the holiday crush), please inform us here at the DSNA office.
If you've not yet paid your membership dues for 2011, what are you waiting for?! Visit the membership links in the sidebar to renew your membership, or contact the office. You don't want to miss this issue!
This year's volume includes two eagerly anticipated articles on the James Boswell Scots dictionary discovered by Susan Rennie, as well as a new thematic index to the first 32 issues of Dictionaries. Here's a complete list of Vol. 32's contents:
Susan Rennie, “Boswell’s Scottish Dictionary Rediscovered”
James J. Caudle, “Dictionary Boswell: James Boswell (1740–1795) and his Design for A Dictionary of the Scot[t]ish Language, 1764–1825”
Reinhard R. K. Hartmann, “Linking Up. The Role of Networking in Disciplinary Contacts within and around Lexicography, with Special Reference to Four European Countries”
Christopher Stray, “Lex Wrecks: A Tale of Two Latin Dictionaries”
Peter Gilliver, “Harvesting England’s Ancient Treasure: Dialect Lexicography and the Philological Society’s First Plans for a National Dictionary”
David E. Vancil “Seven North American Dictionary Collections
Timothy Allen, Robert Morrissey, and Glenn Roe, “Re-imagining French Lexicography: The Dictionnaire vivant de la langue française”
A memorial tribute to the late Richard W. Bailey,by Michael Adams.
Reviews of OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf; Macmillan Collocations Dictionary by Michael Rundell; A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries, Volume IV: 1937-1984 by Julie Coleman; Dictionaries in Spanish and English from 1554 to 1740: Their Structure and Development by Heberto H. Fernández; Words in Dictionaries and History: Essays in Honour of R. W. McConchie by Olga Timofeeva and Tanja Säily; and The Bishop’s Grammar: Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism in English by Ingrid Tieken-Boon.
And a complete thematic index to articles published in Dictionaries between 1979 and 2011.
The journal will be posted to Project Muse in the new year, and back issues of Dictionaries also should be available online beginning in April 2012.
Yale University Press has just published Lawtalk: The Unknown Stories Behind Familiar Legal Expressions, which co-author (and DSNA member) James E. Clapp describes as "a collaboration among four scholars with an interest in both law and language [that] explores the origins and uses of scores of law-related words and phrases. Though accessible and entertaining for general readers, it is notable for its original research and thorough documentation. Time after time we have traced terms farther back than previously known, often uncovering facts about their origins and evolution that heretofore were unknown, misunderstood, or only guessed at." The other authors are Elizabeth G. Thornburg, Marc Galanter, and Fred R. Shapiro.
Did you know that "ham sandwich" has its own wikipedia page?
Yes, I gave today's posting a weird title just to mess with your head. I'm quoting an obscure short story ("The Donnington Affair" by G. K. Chesterton) in which Father Brown explains how hard it can be to figure out a language invented by children. Invented languages are now all the rage! Not only do we have Michael Adams' new book From Elvish to Klingon, but here's a story from the New York Times about how Hollywood's quest for science fiction verisimilitude is leading to lots of work for linguists. And where new languages are invented, can lexicons be far behind?
Having puffed my own piece on Samuel Johnson earlier this week, it's only fair to take note of a book that arrived in today's mail: From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages by DSNA vice president Michael Adams. There's more about the book on the Oxford UP website.