[Ads-l] Central site for antedatings WAS Re: Antedating of "Simoleon"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 10 18:28:36 UTC 2016

The ultimate place to check for antedatings, I think, is the OED, by which I mean not just the published dictionary but also emailing the staff to ask what is in their unpublished files.  I believe that the OED staff checks the ADS-L listserv for antedatings (George Thompson, I think, may be sending them information from the list).

In terms of public websites, the ADS-L archives are the best source for antedatings. Other than the material that the OED staff itself finds, ADS-L is far and away the most prolific source of antedatings nowadays.

barrypopik.com is worth checking for Americanisms and food terms and some other categories of vocabulary.  I don't know whether the OED staff checks barrypopik.com or not.  (Nowadays Barry seems to focus on quotations and jokes much more than on lexical items, but there is very rich information on antedatings of words and phrases in his older material.)

I contribute almost all my antedatings to the OED.  Nowadays I post almost all my antedatings on ADS-L, but thousands of my older antedatings are not in ADS-L.  So emailing me is an option, although I don't have great access to my own older antedatings and I myself find it easier to email the OED to ask about my own older antedatings.

Other than Barry and the ADS-Lers, most people who make antedating discoveries send their findings to the OED.  The antedaters (besides Barry) who don't send their findings to the OED and don't post on ADS-L are the elusive ones, but they don't produce a large amount of antedatings.  A new website probably wouldn't attract their contributions very much.

For modern terms, I find it easier to search ProQuest, Newspapers.com, Readex, Google Books, etc. myself than to check the ADS-L archives and barrypopik.com and email the OED staff (I also have some access to internal unpublished OED databases, but I generally don't check things there).

The question about giving away hard-won research is an interesting one.  Because I send almost all my discoveries to the OED and ADS-L, I sometimes get in the situation where I want to write an article about a discovery but realize that I have pre-empted myself and the discovery is already publicly available or available for those with access to the OED.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 1:11 PM
Subject: Central site for antedatings WAS Re: Antedating of "Simoleon"

The OED is my default for antedatings.  If I find something that is earlier than they have it, I'll post it to the ADS-L and cc: the OED.

I know that Jesse used to make sure that things posted here also got to the OED, but I don't know if he or anyone else scrapes the listserv anymore.

The downside of that is that it may take a long time for the OED to update their entries with new data.

I think wiki-type places are by default public domain.  I suppose you could set up one with password access, but that would limit contributors to only those who know about it and who are vetted by the admin (could William Minor have made the cut?)

As far as credit, I doubt that many people who hunt antedatings really care, except for Barry.

I tend to think that a wiktionary set up just for antedatings would be more trouble than it is worth.

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Tim Stewart [timoteostewart1977 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 10:16 AM
Subject:  Re: Antedating of "Simoleon"

What would be the pros and cons of having wiktionary
<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__en.wiktionary.org_wiki_simoleon&d=CwIFAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=QEjcv2xzuomgzjUnRDZD7C6OavGCUODjsWwxX-ZBEag&s=HdFLepFi8s-pnxeqRhWHZBQQkZzRgjFZwZ88EKT_Yjg&e= >-like place for language
researchers to post antedatings? Here are a few. Would love further input
as to the pros and cons of such a site.

- Researchers could consult a single source for verifying current
earliest-known dating of word usage). At present, researchers must
double-check various listservs, websites, and blogs to see whether a
particular antedating has already been discovered or not.
- The page for a given word could include references to books, articles,
publications, web pages, and so forth about that particular word.

- Who would serve as moderators/administrators of such a system?
- Would the site's content be public domain? Would contributing to the site
amount to giving away hard-won research?


The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=QEjcv2xzuomgzjUnRDZD7C6OavGCUODjsWwxX-ZBEag&s=_YNxVn5DNQtucGVdjJkqRrHOTcAFfxQtwHaFSq5gFDI&e=

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

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