The Challenges of a Multilingual Lexicographer
The first Caribbean Multilingual Dictionary of Flora, Fauna and Foods in English, French, French Creole and Spanish (CMD) was published in 2003 by Arawak Publications Jamaica. It is a thematic dictionary and uses this format because of the considerable amount of material yielded by the four languages that it encompasses. The CMD is also the result of many years of unfunded research by its compiler who faced many challenges before its appearance. Such challenges included obtaining the requisite funding, the allocation of the time frame in which the project to compile and publish the dictionary would be completed, agreement with the funding source on the themes to be covered, and finding committed field researchers in both the Francophone and Hispanophone territories to be covered by the scope of the compilation. The challenges mentioned above were squarely confronted by the compiler and chief researcher and, in order to illustrate how crucial it was to face and resolve them, the writer will explain in the paper the approaches used to overcome them and still produce a work that is both credible and useful to the audience at which the CMD is aimed. The writer will also demonstrate that, had it not been for the years of research by the compiler and committed volunteers previous to the official establishment of the Caribbean Multilingual Research Project, it would not have been possible to complete the CMD in the short space of time ultimately allocated to its production by the funding source obtained. The other challenges stemmed from the work itself and the nature of the lexicon of the languages being chronicled in relation to the themes treated. Those challenges will be discussed in this paper, along with similar ones faced by the compiler who is currently working on her second volume of the CMD, once more unfunded, which will include the themes of religion, music and dance.
Biography: Jeannette Allsopp is the Retired Director and founder of the Allsopp Centre for Caribbean Lexicography (named after her husband Richard Allsopp and herself) and former Senior Research Fellow in Lexicography at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. Her many publications include the Caribbean Multilingual Dictionary of Flora, Fauna and Foods in English, French, French Creole and Spanish (2003) and she was the Associate Researcher for the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage (1996). She produced the Multilingual Supplement to the DCEU, which is the precursor of the Caribbean Multilingual Dictionary.
The Literal Contents of Early American Dictionaries
My work on early American dictionaries has taught me that books are as much containers of things as they are of words. I have physically examined more than 275 small-format English language dictionaries printed in the United States between 1785 and 1835. (By June, when DSNA meets, I anticipate that number will be more than 300.) Turning over every separate leaf in each dictionary, I have come upon a wide range of items left behind by previous users— I hesitate to call them readers. There are flowers and leaves, to be sure, but also fabric, newspaper clippings, and other mementos. The detritus preserved within these lexicons is in and of itself engaging, offering a homely yet richly suggestive encounter with the familial, social and private preoccupations of early Americans, who regarded their dictionaries as reliable containers—books that were filled with authoritative language, to be sure, and that also functioned as convenient domestic tools. My copiously illustrated presentation will speculate as to how and why the dictionary became a space for preserving physical material, valuable or ephemeral. At the same time, I will discuss the preservation of such materials within dictionaries that nowadays are, for the most part, cataloged and shelved in research libraries and rare book rooms. What is thus suggested when the book becomes an icon rather than a text to be read, to be literally opened? In my experience, the frisson of each encounter with a carefully preserved piece of the past inevitably has been followed by the rueful recognition that I owe these discoveries to the likelihood that the volume has remained unread for more than 200 years. My paper will conclude with reflections on the fetishizing of dictionaries, and the relationship between their utility for the 19th-century preserver of flowers and their objectification by the 21st century librarian. I also hope to explore the implications of this objectification for the fact that the dictionary as a material container of words and, potentially, things is rapidly being supplanted by electronic lexicons.
Biography: After serving as Executive Secretary of DSNA (2007-2013) and as chair of the English Department at Buffalo State (2013-2017), this summer Lisa Berglund will begin a term as Executive Director of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her most recent publication is "Why Should Hester Lynch Piozzi Be Just 'Dr. Johnson's Mrs Thrale'?" (Names 64:4 .)
Anglophone Caribbean Paremiology: Richard Allsopp’s A Book of Afric Caribbean Proverbs
Proverb Studies stand at the nexus of diverse scientific fields including Anthropology, Semantic and Semiotic studies, Folklore Studies and Linguistics. Phraseology, a sub-field of Linguistics, studies proverbs as well as other phraseological units and formulaic language. In spite of its forty years, paremiology remains largely unexplored within Caribbean Creole Linguistics. In presenting supporting evidence for his theory on the African origins of Creole languages, which he termed “Afrogenesis”, Richard Allsopp produced A Book of Afric Caribbean Proverbs (BACP) in 2004. A BACP provides the Caribbean paremiologist with extensive comparative coverage of national collections of proverbs. The collection identifies the African proverbs from which an important corpus of Anglophone Caribbean Creole proverbs is derived. Not exhaustive in its purview, Allsopp purports that “Caribbean Atlantic Creoles are, without question, one family of created languages, with their own regional dialects” and that even when translated into IAE […] these proverbs will prove, by their semantic source and morpho-syntactic structure and kind of message, that they can have been developed as they are only in the Caribbean Creoles, notwithstanding the evident universality of their underlying philosophy. Through a lexico-semantic analysis of the proverbs in A BACP with proverbs from the Francophone Caribbean, our paper seeks to support Allsopp’s stated objective.
Biography: Desrine Bogle is a Lecturer in French and Translation at The UWI, Barbados. A member of the Traduction et communication.
MÍRIAM BUENDÍA CASTRO
(See Abstract listed under co-author BEATRIZ SÁNCHEZ CÁRDENAS)
Terms that originate in cult crannies of popular culture, in dialects, and in the jargon of particular professions are on principle slow to find their way into general dictionaries, even when large portions of the adult population may be aware of the words and their meanings. One such word, the compound killer tomato, is glossed in no standard dictionary that I have been able to find, yet it is arguably less obscure than the most of the “killer- ” compounds that are found in the OED: technical/colloquial computer terms killer ap and killer application; the British colloquial term killer fact; the rare (perhaps obsolete, and seemingly more attributive than an actual compound) killer submarine ‘submarine designed to hunt and destroy other submarines’ (usually found in attributive combination hunter-killer submarine); and the rare term killer litter ‘deadly or obnoxious objects, particularly garbage, discarded from tall buildings’ (found only in Singapore English, perhaps a nonce pun on kitty litter). Also found in the OED are the established terms killer whale ‘orcinus orca’ and killer instinct (semantically transparent as ‘an inborn or genetically determined urge to kill’).
Killer tomato has its etymological origins in the 1970s in the United States, where the term was coined as an attributive combined form for deadly fictional extraterrestrial creatures in the satirical film, The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which became a cult favorite and spawned several sequels (Return of the Killer Tomatoes , The Killer Tomatoes Strike Back , and Killer Tomatoes Eat Paris (1991). The film continues to be so popular that “Killer Tomato” paraphernalia is offered for sale on the film’s website. And killer tomato is recognizable as a synonym for any absurd fictional monster or burgeoning risable cultural phenomenon. Even if a conservative lexicographer might decide that compound might not quite make the grade because of its specialized cultural function, one might consider it further because of its etymological origins. At about the same time as the original release of The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, the United States Navy began using large tomato-colored floating target dummies for gunnery practice. Sailors who had just seen the film soon jocosely dubbed their target ‘enemies’ killer tomatoes. The name has stuck and become generic.
Biography: Ronald R. Butters is Professor Emeritus of English and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, where he also chaired the Linguistics Program for many years. He is past chief editor of American Dialect Society Publications, and a past editor of International Journal of Speech, Language, and Law. He frequently serves as an expert witness, with special interest in trademarks and contracts.
MELANIA CABEZAS-GARCÍA & Pamela Faber
Using Paraphrases and Knowledge Patterns to Represent Noun Compound Semantics
Renewable energies are attracting growing interest in the Caribbean islands (CREDP 2011), which results in the need to include terms of this domain in dictionaries. This becomes particularly necessary in the case of noun compounds, which are the most frequent terms in specialized texts (Nakov 2013). Noun compounds have underlying propositions that can be inferred in the two term-formation processes highlighted in Levi (1978): predicate deletion and predicate nominalization. The inclusion of noun compounds in dictionaries is essential because the semantic relations between the constituents of the compound are not explicit because of noun packing (ex. a musical clock is a clock that produces music, but musical criticism is a criticism about music [Levi 1978]). Therefore, the semantics of terminological noun compounds is not fully compositional. However, until now their inclusion in specialized dictionaries has received little research attention. This paper describes how terminological noun compounds could be included in English specialized dictionaries. For this purpose, we used a corpus of renewable energy texts (Landau 2001) to extract verb paraphrases that make the concealed propositions explicit, as well as knowledge patterns (Meyer 2001). Once the meaning of the multi-word terms was accessed by using paraphrases and knowledge patterns, we applied the definitional templates proposed in Frame-based Terminology (Faber 2012) that convey the semantic relations of the noun compounds. Our results showed that verb paraphrases and knowledge patterns are an efficient way of disambiguating the syntactic-semantic complexity of multi-word terms since they allow access to their meaning and argument structure.
Biography: Melania Cabezas-García is a member of the LexiCon research group and holds a research fellowship by the Spanish government to write her PhD dissertation on the role of micro-contexts in multi-word term formation. She has presented papers in international conferences on linguistics, terminology, specialized lexicography, and specialized translation.
Teaching students to read a dictionary entry is an essential part of any education, but what about teaching students to write a dictionary entry? In an English grammar class I taught for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for many years, I asked students to coin words and create dictionary entries for them. Their responses provide insights into the ways that students understand—and misunderstand—morphology and lexicography. My students came up with some delightful words, including pregret (“the feeling of regretting something you will likely do anyway”) and pontifirate (“the often pointless practice of numerically rating any and every object or phenomenon in life”). I will discuss the value of the assignment, which requires students to employ linguistic principles (such as affixation and back formation) to coin their words and then to apply the basics of word class, etymology, and more to craft their entries. This assignment has lessons for linguists, as well. For example, the creator of scraphappy indicated that her word was an adjective, but used a noun phrase to define it. Other students made similar mistakes, suggesting that some English speakers lack a sense of word class—or simply do not use dictionaries enough to have internalized their conventions. On the positive side, the many apt words students created point to the proficiency of speakers in employing common principles of word formation. In short, this presentation will offer pedagogical approaches to teaching morphology and lexicography while revealing truths about speakers’ linguistic competencies.
Biography: Mark Canada is Professor of English and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Kokomo. The author of several articles and books on American literature, he also has taught numerous classes on English linguistics. His newest book is Introduction to Information Literacy for Students (Wiley, 2017).
PAMELA FABER & PILAR LEÓN
Specialized Thesauri, Geographic Contextualization, and Awareness-raising
EcoLexicon (ecolexicon.ugr.es) is a multilingual thesaurus and knowledge base on environmental science, in which concepts are visualized in semantic networks. Its terms are currently being organized as frames in the form of ecological challenges such as coastal ecosystems degradation, waste management, natural disasters, etc. The purpose is to make EcoLexicon an awareness-raising tool and an instrument that educates users, alerting them to the need to deal with specific problems and to implement preventive measures. Since environmental terms can be classified in different subdomains, a dynamic and flexible design is necessary that permits the contextualization of data fields. Flexibility and dynamicity mean that the resource can be adapted to adjust to a wide range of contexts and to fulfill different purposes. Evidently, environmental challenges must be dealt with by nations throughout the world. However, they are particularly relevant to Caribbean countries because of their vulnerable coastal environment. This paper takes the general frame of coastal ecosystem degradation and shows how a more general environmental dictionary, such as EcoLexicon, thanks to its flexible design, can be geographically and thematically contextualized to make it relevant to the Caribbean context. For this purpose, the information design in the data fields in the knowledge base can be restructured and enhanced, thus personalizing it to the needs of a certain geographic user group. When EcoLexicon is geographically localized and attuned to specific contextual needs, it is transformed into an awareness-raising tool for specific environmental problems within the Caribbean context.
Biographies: Pamela Faber is full professor at the University of Granada, where she lectures on Terminology and Specialized Translation. She has directed various national and international research projects on specialized knowledge representation and knowledge bases design She has authored over a hundred publications on terminology, specialized lexicography, and lexical semantics. Pilar León-Araúz lectures at the University of Granada (Spain), where she teaches courses in terminology and CAT tools. She received her PhD from the University of Granada, and also holds degrees from the Université de Provence and the University of Northumbria. Her fields of research include terminology, knowledge representation and extraction and corpus linguistics.
Philosophies of Usage Notes: Merriam-Webster and American Heritage
Usage notes have increasingly become an important part of dictionary entries, more so after American Heritage’s use of them starting in 1969. While AHD was by no means the first to include usage notes, its initial faux-scientific approach relied on compilations of opinions about selected usages by a panel of distinguished writers and others. AHD quantified those judgments for and against individual usage choices. Besides reporting the percentages of support for usage items, its discussion of usages displayed terms such as “correct” and “proper,” “stigma” and “stigmatization,” “distaste,” “beyond rehabilitation,” “ignorance” and “vulgarism,” “should never,” “condemned,” “it is possible that … [speculation],” and referenced “upper class” and “lower classes” among people. By contrast, Merriam-Webster’s usage notes do not rely on quantification of a panel’s opinions but on evidence the publisher has gathered about actual usage. Its notes are characterized by terms such as “appropriate,” “flourishing,” “evidence,” “observation,” “objected to,” “apparently [with cited evidence],” and “less educated.” This paper explores the philosophies of lexicography represented in the dictionaries of these publishers as represented in their usage notes. It concludes that over a longer period of history, Merriam-Webster and its forebears have moved more in the direction of descriptivism than, in a shorter period, American Heritage has moved. The paper explores the roots of these philosophies in the foundations of the publishers and evaluates the pressures on both publishers to shape their usage notes as they have.
Biography: Ed Finegan is professor emeritus of linguistics and law at the University of Southern California. He serves as the Dictionary Society of North America’s delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies and as editor of Dictionaries: The Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America.
Reconstructing the Etymology of Rum: Past and Present Findings
In many rum-producing countries and especially in its Caribbean birthplace, Barbados, rum represents a symbol of identity deeply rooted in local heritage (Smith 2008: 11-17, Laurie 2011: 1-2). Undoubtedly, this cultural phenomenon has intrinsic linguistic outcomes, which affect the lexical inventory of Barbadian English, Caribbean English and, more broadly, “Internationally Accepted English (IAE)” (Allsopp 2003: lvi). Indeed, rum-related near-synonyms are countless, namely Barbados water, devil’s death, grog, (hot) hellish liquor, kill-devil, navy neater, Nelson’s blood, pirate’s drink, rumbullion, rumbustion, taffia or tafia, and uproar. However, the etymologist cannot solely rely on the nomenclature devised within the Barbadian speech community in order to discern the diachronic evolution of the word rum. Further etymological investigation on its coinage and development is justified by the fact that its precise origin is still partly obscure. Therefore, the primary aim of this study is to reconstruct the etymology of rum, the English term used to refer to the alcoholic beverage derived from fermented and distilled sugarcane juice or molasses, by gathering both past and present findings.
As a starting point, in order to report on what is known about the word’s origin, secondary sources were analyzed: these include the specialized literature published to date, e.g. Davis (1885), Barty-King & Massel (1983), Willams (2006), and dictionaries of the English language, e.g. DCEU, Merriam-Webster, OED. Nonetheless, since etymological research involves the retrieval of the true lexical ancestor of a given word, thus establishing the date of its earliest appearance in written documents, primary sources were also taken into account: original manuscripts, e.g. Ligon (1657), Josselyn (1674), Ladd (1831), were retrieved thanks to the existence of digital libraries, e.g. dLOC, Manioc, The National Archives. Although it seems certain that rum was coined in the English-speaking Caribbean and only later spread to the neighboring French-speaking and Spanish-speaking territories, as shown by the presence of cognate terms, this study also attempts to correlate En. rum (OED), Fr. rhum (FEW, TLFi) and Sp. ron (DRAE) with (Brazilian) Portuguese cachaça (DPLP), whose production is said to date back to 1532, about a century before rum appeared (Cavalcante 2011: 37). By providing evidence for a possible antedating of the first written attestation of rum to 1639 – some years before 1654 (OED), it is hoped that this etymological investigation will shed new light on a particular aspect of Caribbean lexicology and lexicography which may be eventually implemented in the updating of existing dictionaries of the English language.
Biography: Cristiano Furiassi is associate professor of English Linguistics at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures of the University of Turin, Italy, where he gained a PhD in 2005. His research activity in the fields of lexicology, lexicography and contact linguistics is mainly focused on the relationship between English and Italian. He is the author of False Anglicisms in Italian (Polimetrica, 2010), awarded ‘honourable mention’ at the 2012 ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) Book Awards, and co-editor of The Anglicization of European Lexis (John Benjamins, 2012) and Pseudo-English (De Gruyter Mouton, 2015).