Abstract

This paper takes stock of the accomplishments of the project to revise and update the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (1967; DCHP-1), which was first presented at the Dictionary Society of North America's 2007 annual meeting in Chicago. The five years since have seen a drastic shift in the dictionary market, and as a result, the updated edition (DCHP-2) is entirely an online project. A milestone towards the new edition—an online version of the first edition (DCHP-1 Online)— was completed in 2011 will be released to be published on 28 January 2013. This paper introduces the tools developed for the new edition—the Dictionary Editing Tool (editing software) and the Bank of Canadian English (quotation file). It then explains the selection criteria for digital data harvesting, which is the main source of data for the new edition, describes the project's connection to undergraduate and graduate teaching and, most importantly, proposes a revised five-tiered classification scheme for Canadianisms, which is the backbone of the new edition.

A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-1; Avis et al., 1967) was one of the first historical dictionaries of English produced outside of the UK or the USA, and it served as a national icon for some time. It was the flagship in the "Dictionary of Canadian English" series published by W.J. Gage (now Nelson Education); this series, begun in 1962, produced Canadian-made dictionaries and enjoyed great support by linguists and dialectologists, including the Canadian Linguistic Association.

Following the publication of DCHP-1 in 1967, Raven I. McDavid, then editor of the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada, stated confidently that DCHP-1 "unlike most of the other historical dictionaries, is committed to frequent and adequate revision" (McDavid 1970: 289). Flash forward 45 years, and no revised version has yet seen the light of day; indeed, until some six years ago, DCHP-1 had all but vanished from public and scholarly perception. But since 2006, important steps have been taken to revive the dictionary and to bring it into the digital age (see Dollinger 2006; Barber and Considine 2010). In this paper we will contextualize the current project, located at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver, starting with a brief history of DCHP-1, and then detail the progress that has been made towards a revised dictionary, DCHP-2.

The DCHP project has two goals: the first is to produce an open-access online version of DCHP-1. The second is to bring DCHP-1 up to date by adding recent Canadianisms and filling major gaps in historical coverage. In July 2011 we accomplished the first goal—DCHP-1 Online (Dollinger et al. 2011)—except for the completion of the licensing agreement with Nelson Education, the copyright holder of DCHP-1. Such agreement has been finalized in the summer of 2012 and was signed on 1 October 2012. Contrary to early plans, ideas of a paper version were abandoned in 2007, and DCHP-2 will be entirely an online product, accessible to all without charge.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 164-178
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-19
Open Access
No
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