Mission of the American Dialect Society

Prof. R. Sussex sussex at UQ.EDU.AU
Tue Nov 4 05:14:35 UTC 2003

Allow me to add some thoughts from the other side of the Pond.

First, the kind of venture that the ADS encourages, especially
through this list, is in one of the finest of western scholarly
traditions: disinterested collaborative exploration. It drove the
Philological Society to launch what became the OED, and it sustained
the OED from Murray to the present day, where large numbers of
informed folk around the world still feed data to the OED compilers.
The notion of a distributed community of like-minded folk sharing
their wisdom and work for a common goal is something to be treasured.

Second, this collaborativeness is also in the best interests of the
best of the Internet. Without getting into the sharp current debates
about open- and open-source scholarship, I see a particularly happy
marriage in the collaboration of the Internet and the goals of the

Third, readers who aren't fired up by lexical data and discussion
should be able to filter out such material: I think we could develop
a mini-thesaurus of macro-keywords which would serve to identify the
bulk of the postings with relatively little effort or trouble. But as
an academic (and broadcaster: I consider that we have a right to
share what we know with folk who want to hear it), I personally
rejoice in the revival of genuine interest in both lexis per se, and
historical lexicography and lexicology. It's still an under-described
and under-theorized field, and what the ADS is doing through ADS-L is
very worth supporting.

Roly Sussex


Roly Sussex
Professor of Applied Language Studies
Department of French, German, Russian, Spanish and Applied Linguistics
School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
The University of Queensland
Queensland 4072

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