Dictionary Visions: Research and Practice. Selected Papers from the 12th International Symposium on Lexicography, Copenhagen 2004. Terminology and Lexicography Research and Practice, vol. 10 (review)
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 29, 2008
- pp. 79-80
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Reviews79 Dictionary Visions: Research and Practice. Selected Papersfrom the 12th International Symposium on Lexicography, Copenhagen 2004. Terminology and Lexicography Research and Practice, vol. 10. 2007. Henrik Gottlieb and Jens Erik Mogensen, eds. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Pp. 321. Tl 1his book is not exactly a thriller, but few collections of conference papers are. Most people tend to repeat things already familiar to the narrow circle of specialists and thereby ruin the suspense the audience expects from a scholarly presentation. A look through the lists of references following about two-thirds of the papers in Dictionary Visions reveals that they are variations on the earlier work by the same authors. This trend cannot be stopped. The number of researchers is so great and the bulk of published production — if we take into consideration countless websites — is so huge that almost no one can hope to be heard, let alone appreciated. But tireless repetition may do the trick. A worn out cliché captures the situation well: conferences exist for meeting old friends (to make sure they are still alive), looking at ambitious graduate students and brand new Ph.D.'s (to decide whether they are worth hiring), and exchanging the latest gossip. Coffee breaks have become more important than sessions. In contrast, the impact of the printed versions of conference papers depends on their merits; they lack the support of a social milieu. Yet, though not thrillers, such collections are useful. It is only hard to read them from cover to cover. The Copenhagen symposium is one of the best-known social events in lexicography, even if it does not attract as many participants as EURALEX congresses . Its success rests on an excellent tradition. Denmark can boast of some of the greatest scholars in the history of philology. Since 1994 the symposium has opened with the OttoJespersen memorial lecture. Substitute Rask, Thornsen , Verner, or Hjemslev for Jespersen, and name recognition will remain. But, of course, none of them, not even Rasmus Rask, can compete with Jespersen when it comes to worldwide popularity among linguists. The founding father of the symposium is Arne Zettersten, a now retired professor at the University of Copenhagen, who migrated to Denmark from Sweden. In 2004 the honor of giving the OttoJespersen lecture was his. His talk "Glimpses of the Future of English-Based Lexicography" closes the present volume. The editors divided the collection into six parts: 1) Online lexicography (1-3), 2) Dictionary structure (4-5), 3) Phraseology in dictionary (6-7), 4) LSP lexicography (8-9), 5) Dictionaries and the user (10-13), and 6) Etymology , history and culture in lexicography (14-19). Four "chapters" are in Dictionaries:Journal oftheDictionary Society ofNorth America 29 (2008), 79—80. 80Reviews German, the rest are in English. Each is supplied with a summary. The languages analyzed are English, German, Danish, Icelandic, Afrikaans, Polish, and Latvian. Retelling all nineteen presentations would be a hopeless enterprise, because most of them are data-oriented; they deal with work in progress (this is especially true of electronic dictionaries) . Those addressing big theoretical questions are unoriginal (as noted above, the same authors have said the same or nearly the same things before), and attempts to beef up modest conclusions by starting from afar look unimpressive (such is the paper on dictionaries and culture: it begins with a broad discussion of what is culture and what is subculture). I also found mildly amusing die promise of an iconoclastic approach to idioms in bilingual dictionaries (the approach is reasonable but hardly revolutionary) . The reader of the first part of this collection is flooded with acronyms (DTD, XML, TEI, GUI, ASR, TTS, LSP, and so forth). Do our papers have to look like present day texting? It is very much to the credit of this book that the papers are written in good English, though there is hardly one native speaker of English among die authors. Of the extremely few misprints only the infamous lead for led (p. 310) deserves mention; the odiers are self-explanatory. And perhaps it would have been better to do widiout visions in the title: the word has been trodden to death. Nowadays everybody is a visionary of sorts. Anatoly...