XVII EURALEX International Congress Tbilisi

By ,

The XVII EURALEX International Congress was held 6 – 10 September 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The Congress was organized by the Lexicographic Centre at Ivané Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. 

The EURALEX Congresses bring together professional lexicographers, publishers, researchers, software developers and others interested in dictionaries of all types.

The motto of this edition of the EURALEX International Congress was: Lexicography and Linguistic Diversity.

Congress Website: http://euralex2016.tsu.ge.

A. P. (Tony) Cowie: 1931-2015


Michael Rundell and Sue Atkins1

unnamed With the death of Tony Cowie towards the end of 2015, the lexicographic community has lost not only a distinguished and influential scholar, but an immensely popular and well-loved colleague. Tony was 84, and – though long retired from his position as Reader in Lexicography at the University of Leeds – he continued to work actively until ill health intervened. After an early career in English-language teaching and teacher-training, Tony shifted his focus to linguistics and lexicography. Working with A.S. Hornby in the early 1970s, he began his long association with English learner’s dictionaries, co-editing the Third Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (OALD), and becoming its Chief Editor for the Fourth. He combined his role as working lexicographer with his teaching and research at Leeds, and he leaves an impressive body of work, notably in the field of phraseology. A founder-member of EURALEX, and an Honorary Member since 2004, Tony was also Editor of the International Journal of Lexicography from 1998 to 2003.
Tony Cowie was born in Yorkshire in 1931 and had a peripatetic childhood, as his father’s army regiment moved to various parts of what was then the British empire, before settling in the UK just before the start of World War Two. After the war, Tony studied Modern Languages at Oxford, and then took a postgraduate course in English Language Teaching. In 1956, he went to Nigeria as an English Language Officer, and taught at the Government Teacher Training College in Ibadan. In 1963, Tony and his young family moved to Edinburgh, where he took a postgraduate diploma at the School of Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, studying under Ronald Mackin – with whom he later collaborated on two Oxford dictionaries of idioms. With a theoretical grounding in linguistics and practical experience as a language teacher and teacher-trainer, Tony was well qualified for his next role, at Leeds University’s School of English, where he became a temporary lecturer in English Language and General Linguistics (1966). This was the beginning of a long academic career at Leeds, where he worked until his retirement, becoming Reader in Lexicography in 1992.

For anyone with a professional or academic interest in monolingual learner’s dictionaries, Tony was the leader in the field, as both practitioner and thinker. His English Dictionaries for Foreign Learners (1999) was for many years the definitive survey of the subject, and it remains a classic. In the first part of the book, he describes the pioneering work of Harold Palmer, Michael West and A.S. Hornby. Like Tony himself, Palmer had started as an English teacher (in his case, in Japan) and then became a linguist as he sought to make sense of the language system and the language-learning process. Tony’s book records Palmer’s brilliant observation that “it is not so much the words of English nor the grammar of English that make English difficult, but that vague and undefined obstacle to progress…consists for the most part in the existence of so many odd comings-together-of-words” (our italics).

These “odd comings-together” were at the centre of Palmer and Hornby’s thinking about languages and how we learn them. Hornby worked as Palmer’s assistant at the Tokyo-based Institute for Research in English Teaching, and what later became the OALD began life in 1940 as The Idiomatic and Syntactic English Dictionary – the title reflecting the dictionary’s focus not so much on individual vocabulary items but on the way words combined to create meanings. A glance at Tony’s own extensive bibliography confirms that he followed directly in this line. Most of his early papers deal with syntax, collocation and idioms, as he explored practical ways of overcoming the difficulties these linguistic features posed for learners of English.
These issues were a central theme of the EURALEX Seminar on the Dictionary and the Language Learner, which Tony organised at Leeds in 1985. The conference proceedings, edited by Tony, were published in 1987 as The Dictionary and the Language Learner, and this helped to establish pedagogical lexicography as an important strand in dictionary research. In 1994, he hosted the first International Symposium on Phraseology at Leeds. With his encyclopedic knowledge of the field, Tony ensured that the conference provided a comprehensive overview of phraseological scholarship by bringing in researchers from the vibrant eastern European tradition along with familiar faces such as John Sinclair, Rosamund Moon, and Igor Mel’cuk. A collection of papers from the conference (Phraseology: Theory, Analysis and Applications), co-edited by Tony and his Leeds colleague Peter Howarth, appeared a little later.

“Applications” is a key word here, because Tony applied his research interests as a working lexicographer, compiling (with Ronald Mackin and Isabel McCaig) two original, evidence-based dictionaries of phrasal verbs and phrasal idioms for OUP, and above all following Hornby at the helm of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Under Tony’s editorship, the OALD broke new ground, further developing Hornby’s description of the syntactic, collocational and phraseological features of complex English words. The Fourth Edition (1989), of which Tony was Chief Editor, was substantially larger than its predecessor, weighing in at almost 1600 pages, compared with just over 1000 pages in the Third (1974). As well as greatly expanding the dictionary’s coverage, OALD4 introduced a completely new system for describing a word’s syntactic behaviour. The complex, non-transparent inventory of 51 “Verb Patterns” (VP18a, VP6D, and so on) was replaced by a simpler, more pedagogically-appropriate notation, making this information more easily accessible to its intended users. With this and other innovations, the OALD maintained its position as the market-leading learner’s dictionary, even as new competitors entered the field.

Meanwhile, Tony continued to publish a series of insightful papers on phraseology, syntax, and just about every aspect of pedagogical lexicography, ending with a contribution on “Dictionaries, Language Learning and Phraseology” in the IJL’s Silver Jubilee issue of 2012. His last major work was as Editor of (and contributor to) the magisterial two volume Oxford History of English Lexicography (2009), a hugely important collection which included chapters on every facet of its subject.

Aside from his life as an academic, writer, and lexicographer, Tony had an extensive “hinterland”, his interests ranging from amateur dramatics (apparently encouraged by his parents’ one-time neighbour, the actor Peter Cushing) to cinema, music and art. Above all, he was a devoted husband and father. Those of us who attended the 1985 EURALEX Seminar at Leeds have fond memories of Tony’s young children apparently taking a leading role in the conference’s day-to-day organisation. Though a true polymath who has had a huge influence on our field, Tony was self-effacing and wore his learning lightly. He was always a delight to listen to and talk with at EURALEX Congresses and other events where lexicographers’ paths cross. We shall miss him enormously, and we send our thoughts and condolences to his wife Cabu and his six children.

1 We are grateful to Tony’s wife Cabu and son Nick for providing information about Tony’s life outside lexicography.

Tony Cowie passed away


Tony Cowie
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Tony Cowie, distinguished lexicographer and scholar, founder-member of EURALEX and Editor of the International Journal of Lexicography from 1998 – 2003. He was 84, and had been active in his work until ill health made this impossible for him. A true polymath, and one who wore his learning lightly, Tony was a real delight to listen to and talk with at EURALEX Congresses and other events where lexicographers’ paths cross. We shall miss him enormously, and send our thoughts and condolences to his devoted wife Cabs and his six children. A fuller appreciation of Tony’s contribution to lexicography and linguistic theory will appear in the next IJL.

Sue Atkins and Michael Rundell

Adam Kilgarriff passed away


With great sadness, I am writing to let you know that our friend and colleague, Adam Kilgarriff – a hugely distinguished and much-loved member of the Euralex community – died yesterday evening. As many of you will know, Adam was diagnosed with advanced cancer last autumn. He faced this awful illness with an amazing spirit, with a dignity, calm, and good humour which only increased the admiration and affection in which he was held by us all. We have lost an exceptional linguist and a wonderful friend, and we will all miss him terribly. Please think of Adam, his wife Gill, and his children Boris, Maddie, and Raffie.

Michael Rundell



The XVII EURALEX International Congress will be held 6 – 10 September 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Congress will be organized by the Lexicographic Centre at Ivané Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

The EURALEX Congresses bring together professional lexicographers, publishers, researchers, software developers and others interested in dictionaries of all types.

The programme will include plenary lectures, parallel sessions on various topics, software demonstrations, a round-table discussion, pre-congress tutorials and specialized workshops, a book and software exhibition as well as social events for participants and their guests.

The motto of this edition of the EURALEX International Congress is: Lexicography and Linguistic Diversity.

The logo of the congress depicts the 12th – 13th century Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli.

All relevant dates will be published on the congress website and updated regularly.

New: Patrick Hanks, Lexical Analysis


In Lexical Analysis, Patrick Hanks offers a wide-ranging empirical investigation of word use and meaning in language. The book fills the need for a lexically based, corpus-driven theoretical approach that will help people understand how words go together in collocational patterns and constructions to make meanings. Such an approach is now possible, Hanks writes, because of the availability of new forms of evidence (corpora, the Internet) and the development of new methods of statistical analysis and inferencing.

Hanks offers a new theory of language, the Theory of Norms and Exploitations (TNE), which makes a systematic distinction between normal and abnormal usage—between rules for using words normally and rules for exploiting such norms in metaphor and other creative use of language. Using hundreds of carefully chosen citations from corpora and other texts, he shows how matching each use of a word against established contextual patterns plays a large part in determining the meaning of an utterance. His goal is to develop a coherent and practical lexically driven theory of language that takes into account the immense variability of everyday usage and that shows that this variability is rule governed rather than random. Such a theory will complement other theoretical approaches to language, including cognitive linguistics, construction grammar, generative lexicon theory, priming theory, and pattern grammar.



OBELEXdict is a database which currently comprises 17,000 entries containing information on online dictionaries from all over the world.

The objective of OBELEXdict is to provide a research tool that enables users to find as many lexicographical resources as possible, organised according to content. Therefore, each entry includes a wide range of information on the respective dictionary, in particular the type, name and the language(s) of the dictionary.

In addition, search queries in OBELEXdict can be narrowed down according to which language families its languages belong to, whether auditory information is available in the dictionary, whether the dictionary offers some kind of diagrammatic access to the dictionary content, whether illustrations or videos are integrated into the dictionary or whether the dictionary offers onomasiological access to the dictionary content, e.g. access to topic areas/subject groups or onomasiological access via illustrations.

OBELEXdict was constructed alongside work on the dictionary portal OWID, with minimal staff, mostly in 2010/2011. We endeavour to attaina high quality of content, but we are always happy to receive comments and
suggestions that help us improve OBELEXdict.

End of print dictionaries at Macmillan


Macmillan has announced that, from 2013, it will no longer be publishing dictionaries in book form. It will focus instead on its expanding range of digital resources. Michael Rundell, Editor-in-Chief of the Macmillan dictionary list, sees this as both inevitable and entirely positive. He regards the printed book as a very limiting medium, and increasingly out of step with the way people look for information in the second decade of the 21st century. While printed reference books are out of date as soon they go on sale, an online dictionary can be kept fully up to date. More than this, the digital medium allows dictionary publishers to provide valuable additional resources, like audio pronunciations, interactive games, and a thesaurus function. As well as all these, Macmillan has a crowd-sourced dictionary (the ‘Open Dictionary’) fed by users from all over the world, and an active blog with four or five new posts every week on language-related issues. Michael says he was struck by one of the findings reported at the recent Euralex Congress in Gilles-Maurice de Schryver’s plenary: his analysis of papers in the Euralex archive showed that the word ‘look up’ had declined in frequency and been overtaken by ‘search’. This is the world that dictionaries belong to now. For more details, see the post on this subject in Macmillan’s blog.

Paul Bogaards


The Executive Board of EURALEX is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our good friend and dedicated colleague, Paul Bogaards, at his home in the Netherlands on October 3, 2012. Paul was editor of the International Journal of Lexicography from 2002 to 2012 and an ex-officio member of the EURALEX Executive Board during that time. Paul’s contributions to EURALEX were many, and he continued to work on IJL right up until his illness prevented him from doing so. Paul will be sorely missed by the EURALEX community, and we take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to his widow Ingrid and to the rest of his family.

An obituary for Paul will appear in the next issue of the EURALEX Newsletter, and we are working with Oxford University Press to set up a memoriam on the IJL webpage. Further information will be posted here. In the interim, Anne Dykstra will be Acting Editor of the journal.

Janet DeCesaris, President, EURALEX (2012-2014), for the Executive Board

A Catalogue of Dictionaries, Vocabularies, Grammars, and Alphabets William Marsden


Born in Ireland, William Marsden (1754–1836) was a pioneer in the study of oriental languages, in particular those of modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia. At the age of seventeen he joined his elder brother to work for the East India Company in Sumatra, and began researching the languages of the East Indies. He moved to London in 1779 and became associated with its scientific and academic circles, attending meetings of the Royal Society and becoming a friend of Sir Joseph Banks. This gave him access to vocabularies compiled by naval officers, and these, combined with his own observations, allowed him to produce the pioneering works that made his reputation. (His History of Sumatra and Dictionary of the Malayan Language are also reissued in this series.) First published in 1796, this work helped to fuel the growing interest in languages and philology at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Euralex 2012 Oslo


Here is the latest news on Euralex 2012 to be held in Oslo, Norway.

These are the speakers who have accepted the invitation to deliver plenary lectures. You can read short summaries of their lectures on the Euralex 2012 web page.

Registration is now open. Early registration will be open until June 15th 2012.

International Conference on Historical Lexicography and Lexicology (ICHLL)


The conference will be held from 25th – 28th July, 2012, and it is organised by the Saxonian Academy of Sciences in Leipzig and the Department of Indo-European Studies of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

The cultural programme of the conference includes:

• Guided tour of the manuscript section of the Thuringian university and state library
• Dinner with programme in the historical Rosensäle (meaning “Rosenhalls”)
• Excursion to Weimar, the town of the German classical period, or to Leipzig, place of residence of the Saxonian Academy (28th July)

Conference Website.

Lyon: international conference on neology in specialized languages


The Center for Research in Terminology and Translation (CRTT) of the University of Lyon is organizing an international conference on neology in specialized languages which will take place in Lyon on 2-3 July 2012. The aim of the conference is to bring together linguists interested in discussing the following aspects of neology in specialized communication:

the methods and tools which are used to detect new terms and concepts,
the importance of written and oral corpora to detect new terms,
the methods and tools which are used to measure and evaluate the implantation of new terms in a specialized language and their circulation to other specialized languages,
the influence of language policies on the implantation and circulation of neologisms,
the diachronic evolution of neologisms,
the treatment of neologisms by general-purpose and specialized dictionaries.


EURALEX 2024 Agreement signed

| , , | No Comments
On March 6, 2023, Annette Klosa-Kückelhaus (the president of EURALEX), Željko Jozić (Director of the Institute for the Croatian Language and Linguistics), and the EURALEX 2024 conference organiser Kristina Štrkalj…

EURALEX 2022 Agreement signed

| , , | No Comments
This afternoon, the president of EURALEX Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, Mannheim’s academic director Prof. Dr. Henning Lobin (on the upper left in the screenshot), Mannheim’s administrative director Dr. Torben Heinze (on…


eLex 2019

| , | No Comments
The sixth eLex conference Electronic lexicography in the 21st century (Smart Lexicography) was held in Sintra, Portugal, from 1-3 October 2019. The conference was hosted by University of Coimbra. More information…

XVIII EURALEX International Congress Ljubljana

| , | No Comments
The XVIII EURALEX International Congress was held 17-21 July 2018 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Congress was organized by the Centre for Language Resources and Technologies at the University of Ljubljana and Trojina, Institute for Applied Slovene Studies. The EURALEX Congresses…

eLex 2017

| , | No Comments
The fifth eLex conference Electronic lexicography in the 21st century (Lexicography from Scratch) was held in Holiday Inn Leiden, Netherlands, from 19-21 September 2017. The meeting was hosted by INT (Institute…

XVII EURALEX International Congress Tbilisi

| , | No Comments
The XVII EURALEX International Congress was held 6 - 10 September 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Congress was organized by the Lexicographic Centre at Ivané Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.  The EURALEX Congresses bring together professional lexicographers, publishers, researchers, software…