News on Encyclopedia of Discourse Studies (EDS) -- (1)

Teun A. van Dijk teun at HUM.UVA.NL
Tue Feb 15 11:22:18 UTC 2000

Good news for those who are looking forward to have an enormous
discourse encyclopedia, as a major internet resource, at their
fingertips: the LINGUIST organization just let me know that they will be
glad to host the encyclopedia. Now, that is wonderful news, because its
solves a major infrastructure problem: where to locate the site.

Stimulated by the very enthusiastic reactions of many DISCOURS and
subscribers, as well as others, I feel confident that this could become
a very successful project.

I thank all those who already have made various extremely useful
suggestions, and especially Michelle Lazar who suggested that each entry
could become the center of a debate and allow for the encyclopedia to be
really interactive.

Of course, there are many features that would enhance the special
usefulness of an internet encyclopedia, when compared to one on paper:
fast cross-links between the items (just a click away), links to
homepages of authors and other specialists on an entry, and to other
resources (papers, bibliographies) on the same topic; of course entries
can thus become multi-media, with sound, pictures and videos where
necessary, and although 2 pages only allow brief examples, links could
be established with more detailed analysis of longer discourse data. And
so on. The number of possibilities is only limited by our fantasy (and a
bit by technology and lack of money, of course).

Celso´s question about the language of the encyclopedia is of course
crucial. The most obvious answer would be that the in the first phase
items will be in the language most people in discourse analysis
understand: English (at least for now). However, there is no reason (and
LINGUIST says their computers have lots of space) not to consider that
entries will be available in various languages -- as long as people are
willing to translate them (for free!), which I think won´t be a problem,
because there are MANY discourse analysts in many countries speaking
many languages. Celso may even have them in Galician if he or someone
else in Galicia does the translations. Since the whole idea is as
flexible as can be, we may in the beginning have only translations in
some major languages of some major concepts, but that can slowly grow.
We may have editors who will be responsable for monitoring the
spontaneous or invited translations in various languages.

I have started to assemble a team of leading scholars in various areas
who may act as section editors, with whom I hope to work out the (at
present) best format we can think of for the encyclopedia articles. Then
we'll need a Great Wizard in designing websites, so that the site will
be very accessible, fast, and very practical -- apart from being
original and esthetically pleasing. All people who contribute to the
encyclopedia will work for free, and their only reward will be that if
they do a good job thousands of users may profit of their contribution.

I´ll keep you informed about the progress of this project, and I hope
that whenever anybody of you has an idea that may make the E-ncyclopedia
better, he or she will let me know. As soon as the site is 'up' , even
provisionally, we can collect ideas and suggestions there.

Thanks for your positive feedback. I hope that (say) in a year from now,
all of you may have access to a tremendous research and teaching

Best wishes



Teun A. van Dijk
Program of Discourse Studies
University of Amsterdam

In 2000:

Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Institut Universitari de Linguistica Aplicada (IULA)
Rambla 30-32
08002 Barcelona (Espana)

Phone: (0034) 93-272.1200 (casa/home)
FAX:   (0034) 93-272.0106 (casa/home)

E-mail: teun at

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