http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/lingua-franca-nameplate.pngBy Allan Metcalf. Last week at the University of Georgia, down in Athens, some 60 odd people came together for a meeting. They shared a Rare, but not Obsolete, interest: dictionaries.
“We are strange people,” said Ilan Kernerman, head of K Dictionaries, in Israel. “Most people do not like dictionaries.” Indeed, he wondered whether there will be dictionaries at all in the future. The answer seemed to be, Yes there will, but the dictionary of the future will require a new definition. It won’t be a book. It was the 19th biennial conference of the Dictionary Society of North America. The society includes those who make dictionaries and those at colleges and universities who study them, not only from America but from Asia and Europe as well. There were talks on everything from jazz in the Oxford English Dictionary to lexicography in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), from the Big Apple of New York City to the 19th-century Hobson-Jobson dictionary of English in India. But among more than 30 such talks, there was a common thread: Dictionaries aren’t what they used to be. And they aren’t yet what they are going to be. Read more...