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What links Grimm, Dahl and Alcover? Not only were they all folklorists, they were also all lexicographers. Linguistic documentation has strong connections with cultural documentation both historical and contemporary, and this session reflects on the pros and cons of lexica as ethnographic sources.
The role that lexicographic data can play as a supplement to other forms of ethnographic data is the focus of this session. In other words, we aim to 'break the rules' of dictionary usage by repurposing them as a source an ethnographic source. Such data can be found in in academy dictionaries, but it may also be found in vernacular dictionaries (running from the works of lone enthusiasts to collective crowdsourced projects, such as the Urban Dictionary), as well as in dictionaries that verge on becoming encyclopedias (and, indeed, Wiktionary and Wikipedia).
We welcome proposals that discuss both the methodological advantages and disadvantages of using such data. Thus, as well as discussions of specific dictionaries, we seek proposals that address broader questions about the reliability and usefulness of such data or which focus on precisely which aspects of culture it is that are the best (and the least) represented in such reference works. This panel also marks the publication of 'Dictionaries as a Source of Folklore Data' (FFC 321), a book that has its roots in panels held at SIEF Tartu 2013; papers that engage with themes in that book would be particularly welcome.