Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 15:41:32 -0400 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: Wash. Post article on DARE At 02:20 PM 8/25/97 -0400, you wrote: >Today's Washington Post has an article about DARE, with >quotes from Cassidy, Hall, and Leonard Zwilling. It >focuses mostly on the financial problems they're having >and the resulting difficulties. > >Those interested can find it on line at: > > >Jesse Sheidlower > > For those who haven't seen it, the impression left by the article is that DARE could be terminated without going past O, that the next couple of years are crucial, that new large-scale financial backing is necessary. Is it that bad? (I ask sincerely, not skeptically.) Lots of people on this list are probabably aware of the difficulties and delays in getting large-scale dictionaries completed. The German _Thesaurus Linguae Latinae_ has been coming out in facsicles for about a century and is still around R or S (I'm writing this from memory). A major Old Irish dictionary begun in the 40s or 50s is still not done. Etc. etc. Maybe DARE needs to do what NED/OED did in the 1890s when it was having big problems (see Murray's granddaugther's bio of him, _Caught in the Web of Words_): namely, somehow identify itself with the country and the culture, thus generating a sense among the educated public that the thing should and must somehow be completed, and not to do so would be a collective shame. That tends to push people to try to find ways of ensuring that the funds become available. Of course, the option of dedicating DARE to Queen Victoria is not too viable in 1997 (which is what was done exactly a century ago) -- but publicity might scare up, or embarrass up, enough money to finish. Certainly OED lost Oxford Univ Press tons of money during the fascicles stage. But once a "dictionary on historical principles" with citations has been done properly, it is much less of an uphill pull (though still laborious of course) to *update* it, especially when one begins to talk of electronic texts (CD-ROM's, or more likely DVD's in another several years). The history of OED in the later 20C is a case in point. _Caught_, p. 289: "The recognition of the Dictionary as a national asset was sealed when James Murray suggested that the whole work should be dedicated to Queen Victoria. In August 1897 the Queen accepted, and the third Volume containing Murray's *D* and Bradley's *E* included a fly leaf with the dedication by the University of Oxford. For the first time the University itself was formally pledged to the production and any drawing back now was unthinkable." (Note that it took from the 1879 contract till 1897 to get done with A-E.) Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]