Call for Participation: Siouan Dictionaries Roundtable

David Kaufman dvklinguist2003 at
Wed Apr 23 14:58:18 UTC 2008

  I would like to participate in the roundtable.  I'm working on a revised Biloxi dictionary, still very much in progress.  I think this would be a good forum for discussion and ideas.
  Dave Kaufman

Catherine Rudin <carudin1 at> wrote:
  Call for Participation: Siouan Dictionaries Roundtable
Siouan and Caddoan Conference
Joplin, MO, June 20-21 2008

This year's Siouan and Caddoan Conference will include a roundtable
session on making dictionaries of Siouan languages: pitfalls,
successful practices, projects in progress, helpful hints, deeper issues
of purpose and philosophy. 

Your participation in this session is invited on two levels:

(1) If you would like an official spot on the program to give a brief
presentation on your own dictionary project, please get in touch with me
as soon as possible. 
Catherine Rudin: carudin1(at)
As of now there are two presentations scheduled, one on the recently
completed Hocank dictionary (Iren Hartmann) and one on the newly-funded,
about-to-begin Omaha and Ponca dictionary (Mark Awkuni-Swetland,
Catherine Rudin, Rory Larson). We'd welcome additional presentations. 
Description/demonstration of any Siouan-language dictionary or
dictionary project, at any stage of completion, would be appropriate. 
Depending on interest we'll adjust the time per project and if necessary
split into a couple of sessions. 

(2) We are counting on lots of audience participation - the main point
of the panel, at least from my perspective, is to pick the collective
brain of the Siouan linguistic community, so those of us just embarking
on dictionary projects can benefit from all the expertise out there. 
Calling it a "roundtable" is meant to suggest dialogue rather than
lectures. To this end it would be great if everyone would think about
issues involved in constructing a dictionary beforehand and bring in
ideas, questions, answers, examples to show. We might even try to come
up with a list of issues in advance, as a kind of agenda guide for the
open discussion portion of the session.

Just to get the conversation going, here's a possible starter list. 
Feel free to add (or subtract, combine, or modify). 

-What information should dictionary entries include?
-What kinds of "front matter" are useful, essential, expendable? 
(grammar sketch, pronunciation guide, frequency lists, ...)
-Grammar issues: how to best cover things like verb conjugation,
allomorphy, etc. What grammatical categories need to be labelled? Do
roots, prefixes, suffixes get separate entries, or do only whole words
get listed?
-Alphabetization: Does "ch" come after all of the "c" words, or between
ce and ci? (are ch, sh, th etc. "letters" for purposes of
alphabetization? What about long vowels? What to do about alternative
-User-friendliness issues: what is it important to think about for
various types of users (linguists, tribe members, language students,
non-specialist public, etc.)
-What makes a good example sentence? How many should be included?
-Cultural information? How much to include, and how?
-Tech issues: what are the best software/protocols to use, and why? 
What about linking sound files, pictures, etc.?
-Electronic vs. paper dictionaries (how do desiderata or possibilities
for database vs. printed version vs. web-based version differ?; what
kind of field structure is necessary in order to include all needed
information for all three?)
-Pitfalls to avoid.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in Joplin, and to hearing your

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