The blogosphere continues to buzz with what DSNA member Jesse Sheidlower, writing for the New Yorker Culture Desk, calls a "bogus" interpretation of Sarah Ogilvie's study of Robert Burchfield's work at OED. Choosing which words to include in the OED supplement "was not deletion, it was editing," Sheidlower writes. He concludes his post: "In fact, Ogilvie’s book itself is rather different from how it was portrayed in the Guardian story. It is a sober analysis of the approaches to loanwords taken by various O.E.D. editors, and does not attribute malice to Robert Burchfield’s rational editorial decisions. It does exactly what a work of historical scholarship should do: provide a close analysis of editorial decisions, and interpret them. It is a damfool shame that the media chose to exaggerate one aspect of this to create a controversy where none existed."
Roger Steiner, lexicographer, emeritus professor of linguistics and cognitive science, a Fellow of the Dictionary Society of North America and a member of DSNA since 1977, passed away on 2 November 2012.
The Spring 2011 DSNA Newsletter featured a profile of Mr. Steiner, which you may access here or by scrolling down the right sidebar of this blog.
Below, we reprint the obituary notice that appeared in the University of Delaware's UDaily on 26 November 2012:
9:32 a.m., Nov. 26, 2012--Roger Jacob Steiner, professor emeritus of linguistics and cognitive science, died Nov. 2. He was 88.
Dr. Steiner taught linguistics at the University of Delaware for 33 years.
A lexicographer, his French and English dictionary sold millions of copies. He revised five Spanish and English dictionaries.
Before joining the Delaware faculty, he taught at the University of Bordeaux in France and spent 15 years in the Methodist pastorate. He remained an ordained minister with membership in the Eastern Pennsylvania conference of the United Methodist Church with occasional preaching activity.
Dr. Steiner was a member of the Pennsylvania Society Sons of the Revolution, Lancaster, Pa. chapter, and the Delaware Society Sons of the American Revolution, Maj. Robert Kirkwood Chapter, in Newark, Del., where he served a term as president.
Born in South Byron, Wisc., he served in World War II and graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa. He received both a master's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He received a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.
He was predeceased by his wife, Ida Kathryn Posey Steiner, and is survived by two sons, David Posey Steiner and Andrew Posey Steiner, and by two grandchildren, Sierra Maria Steiner and Emily Faith Steiner, and by Anthony Wright, who was like a son, of Newark, Del.
You are cordially invited to participate in the 19th Meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America, to be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA on May 23-25, 2013.
Those wishing to present papers (no longer than 20 minutes) should send abstracts to Don McCreary by January 10, 2013. Proposals for papers on any topic relating to the history, theory, or practice of lexicography are invited. Abstracts proposing for papers about historical lexicography and bilingual lexicography are especially welcome.
The city of Athens, also known as the Southeast's "Classic City," has many exciting attractions, including a vibrant downtown full of unique shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. Rolling Stone ranked Athens the number one college music town in the US. An article in the New York Times said that "its reputation as a cutting-edge music scene took off in the early 1980's after two homegrown bands, REM and the B-52's, hit the big time. … Even if the music is not to your taste, the stately homes, lovely university campus, eclectic restaurants, and sleepy Southern atmosphere provide plenty of other reasons to spend a few days in Athens." Livability.com recently ranked Athens number eight on its list of top college towns in the US: “Downtown pulsates with restaurants, entertainment venues, and more than 65 unique shops that serve as examples of Athens' strong entrepreneurial climate.” For more information: ww.visitathensga.com and www.flagpole.com.
The conference will take place at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, on the campus of the University of Georgia; it has a 200-bedroom hotel, dining services, conference rooms, and computer labs. Please visit the Center's website for further information, for hotel room reservations, and for your DSNA registration.
Athens is about 60 miles from Atlanta. Atlanta's international airport is served by Delta and 0ther airlines. Regular ground transportation is available from Groome Transportation with one van per hour from the airport to the Georgia Center from 5:15 a.m. until midnight. It's best to call them to reserve your seat.
Sarah Ogilvie's book Words of the World (forthcoming from Cambridge next month) has the blogs buzzing with her description of how the late Robert Burchfield, the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1970s and 1980s, removed up to 17 percent of the loanwords and world English words that had been included in 1933 by editor Charles Onions.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Ogilvie reports:
"I was the editor of the OED responsible for words from outside Europe and while editing these words I noticed a pattern that went against the general consensus: there were thousands of foreign words and words from varieties of English around the world in the dictionary and they had been put there by editor James Murray and his fellow editors.
"The irony of the whole story is that although in the beginning the dictionary editors were criticised for putting too many 'outlandish' words in the dictionary that were 'decaying' our language, one hundred years later they were criticised for the opposite: for too many British words in the dictionary and not enough foreign words!
"But it turns out that this was a myth perpetuated by a 20th-century Chief Editor of the OED."
Oxford American Dictionaries has chosen "gif" as the Word of the Year, with Oxford UK plumping for "omnishambles." Check out the reports (and the runners-up) on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. A conventional interpretation might suggest that the Americans are being their usual techno-serious selves, while the Brits are indulging in a bit of whimsy. (Indeed, Oxford Dictionaries UK confess they just like the word.) But come now, folks, surely the Word of the Year should express an idea that is, well, new? An "omnishambles," according to Oxford, is "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations." Isn't that just a synonym for "SNAFU"? How do you pronounce STHBCMAICBASOBAM?
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade and reference division has acquired John Wiley’s Webster’s New World Dictionary, along with CliffsNotes, Betty Crocker and foodie favorite Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." See the full story at Publisher's Weekly.
In a blog post titled "Stop the presses – the end of the printed dictionary," Michael Rundell reports that Macmillan has "taken the decision to phase out printed dictionaries and focus on our rich and expanding collection of digital resources." He concludes, "Exiting print is a moment of liberation, because at last our dictionaries have found their ideal medium."