Next Lecture | Dr. Christine Robinson: Dictionaries & Society

Wednesday 2 February | 18:00 | Appleton Tower 2 | Free for members, £1 otherwise

Dictionaries and Society
Dr. Chris Robinson
Honorary Fellow, LEL

Dr. Robinson is an Honorary Fellow of the Linguistics and English Language Department at the University of Edinburgh.

Her work has focused on the Scots language (as a member of the English Language side of the department). She has published work on Scots and Scottish English accents in film and TV.

She is also Director of the Scottish Language Dictionaries organisation, a group that researches both historic and contemporary Scots and that has published several dictionaries of the language.

It is from this work and experience that Chris will draw from in this talk to look at the impact that dictionaries and society have on each other.

Entry is £1 and FREE to active members. Membership is £3 (£6 for non-students) and you can join on the night.

The talk will start at 6:00 p.m. and last about 1 hr. There will be a Q&A/ discussion session at 7:00 p.m. which should last about half an hour.


We also meet at Assembly Bar (41 Lothian Street EH1 1HB ) after the talk at 8:00 p.m. for food and drink with the speaker.

Here is the talk abstract:


Dictionaries have a two-way association with society. Given the  link between identity and language, in the case of minority languages dictionaries play an important role in ?validating? language by conferring some kind of academic status.  This can often have powerful beneficial effects on the self-confidence of speakers and  of the community as a whole. Although lexicographers (with some exceptions) do not set out to be presciptive, the way in which people use dictionaries gives them a normative function. They are thereful essential tools in any top-down language planning strategy.   Conversely, dictionaries rely on their grass-roots informants, as well as on literary sources, in order to provide the comprehensive lexical description to which they aspire. This makes them eclectic repositories of folklore and material culture, trade practices, beliefs etc., reflecting not only the language of a society but also the society itself. This talk explores some of these interactions and their implications for dictionary making and dictionary use.

Our talks are public lectures open to all, regardless of whether you are a student or not or what or where you study if a student. We aim for all of our events to be accessible to all; please feel free to contact us beforehand if you require assistance or further information.

Leave a Reply