Lexicograophical crimes

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat Oct 15 15:42:33 UTC 2011

One thing that we could do is urge the Executive Committee of the American Dialect Society to implore OUP to publish the rest of (RH)DAS, by means of an official action at the ADS meeting in Portland in January. DARE has been one of ADS's most important ongoing sister "projects"; DAS would be another. Similarly, the DSNA Executive Committee could make a similar resolution (though DSNA will not meet again until 2013,  assume that the Executive Committee could so resolve--or, if that is not in accord with the bylaws, such a resolution could be submitted to the membership by e-mail).

I am not sure what the relationship is between Harvard University Press and DARE, but I do know that private donations have been solicited for DARE for years, and that these are tax-deductable. I would not want to do anything to compromise funding for DARE by drawing away private funds for another project, but it seems to me that OUP is arguably a nonprofit and could solicit funds for completion of DAS.

It seems very unlikely, but perhaps there is also a question of royalties--about which we know nothing (and have no right to know), but which could I suppose be an issue. If so, perhaps assignment to an arbitrator would end that roadblock (if, indeed, there is one: I hasten to add that I have no knowledge whatever about who owns the copyrights or anything at all about compensations issues, now or in the past).

The issue of the name of the dictionary is thorny. We have known it for years as RHDAS, but now it would be some kind of ODAS. I wonder why it couldn't be retitled Lighter's DAS?

On Oct 15, 2011, at 11:25 AM, George Thompson wrote:

> A couple of years ago, I tried to arouse ADS-L to use its moral authority to
> intimidate OUP into moving on with HDAS, vol. P-Z.  Let me try again.  OUP
> has no doubt fully incorporated JL's corpus of citations into its files, so
> they have gotten the key benefit from having acquired the rights to the
> material.  If they don't foresee profiting from publishing P-Z in book form,
> then let them release the publishing rights back to JL.  If they do suppose
> that they might break even at least, or if they feel an obligation to
> scholarship and to JL, then let them publish it.
> If I thought that the OED was making extensive use in its revision of the
> material JL gathered, I would sit down and shut up.  But it isn't.
> The history of slang is important in social and cultural history.  The
> history of American slang is only properly documented in HDAS.  The OED is
> not interested in fully documenting American English of any register.  If a
> word or sense is originally and primarily American, then OK.  But if a word
> is English, then the OED doesn't care to show when the word migrated to the
> U. S.    I grant that no one much cares who the first American was to use
> the word "cow".  But a number of years ago, Gerry Cohen kindly published for
> me a lexicon of prize-fighting slang taken from NYC newspapers of the 1810s
> & 1820s.  This showed that the fad for prize-fighting among English
> gentlemen, with its faddish vocabulary, had moved to the States very
> quickly, despite the Embargo and the War of 1812, which is interesting as
> history.
> (Not just slang, too.  Those whose interests run to more lofty things might
> be interested to know when the word "sublime" in the romantic/esthetic sense
> was picked up by us colonials.  &c.)
> In any event: What can we do to agitate OUP to move one way or another with
> the HDAS material they are now content to sit on?
> On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 9:21 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Thank you, Ron and Dave.
>> Everything is in the hands of Oxford, which owns all rights, and has
>> all the material necessary to produce letters P through Z, plus the
>> bibliography.  We had already arranged, edited, and defined a great
>> deal straight through to the end and collected a substantial amount of
>> material for an addenda. The online OED revisions currently
>> incorporate some of the contents of P-Z.
>> The ball is in Oxford's court.
>> JL
>> On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 11:33 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net>
>> wrote:
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
>>> Subject:      Re: Lexicograophical crimes
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> Arguably, the greatest lexicographical crime of the twentieth century
>>>>> in America was the failure to publish the second half of that
>>>>> magnificent work of scholarship, RHDAS.
>>>> --
>>>> So why hasn't the last part been published? Who owns the rights? Has
>>>> the unpublished part of the book (I guess P-Z plus addenda, notes,
>>>> etc.?) been drafted, in whole or in part? How much would it cost to
>>>> finish it? Are there any plans?
>>>> -- Doug Wilson
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ.
> Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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