N Monday, April 11, Oxford University Press hosted the second METROLEX meeting--sponsored by the DSNA--in their New York offices. The theme of the program was "Language, Lexicography, and the Law," and we were fortunate to have three distinguished speakers with a wide range of experience in forensic and historical lexicography.
First on the program was Robert A. Leonard, Professor of Linguistics at Hofstra University and a much-sought-after expert witness on language. He spoke (among other things) about educating students in forensic linguistics, their contributions to the field, and his own experience in supporting legal investigations and trials. Next came Lawrence Solan, Professor of Law and at Brooklyn Law School and Director of the Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition. He spoke (among other things) about the fondness of judges for dictionaries and the complexities of using dictionary definitions as authorities somehow free of historical conditions that could profoundly affect the meaning of words. Fred R. Shapiro, Law Librarian at the Yale University School of Law, spoke (among other things) of the process of establishing historical usage, antedating the OED's records of earliest printed uses, the history of the terms for tiddlywinks and baseball, discovering and using new corpora, and the many joys of historical linguistics.
After each presentation the floor was open for questions, and lively discussion ensued. We are especially grateful to Shmuel Ross for videotaping the presentations (and discussions, which are now available to watch on YouTube.
Each video runs about half an hour.
The initial letter O used in this posting comes from The Dictionary of syr Thomas Eliot knyght (1538).