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European Lexicographers Support their Georgian Colleagues

Before leaving for EURALEX Congress in Leeuwarden, I forwarded the text of the “Appeal of Georgian Lexicographers to the Georgian Government and the Academic Community” to the Organizing Committee of the Congress. On behalf of the organizers of Batumi International Symposium in Lexicography, I requested our European colleagues to express their viewpoints concerning the issues, tackled in the Appeal.
The Board of EURALEX discussed the Appeal and made a decision to add their voices to the Appeal of Georgian Lexicographers.
On behalf of the Board, President of EURALEX sent us a highly instructive letter, addressed to the Georgian Government and Academic Community.
Here follows the text of the said Letter.

The Letter of EURALEX President

10th August 2010

Dear Sirs,

I am writing as current President of EURALEX, the European Association for Lexicography, at the behest of our colleagues in Georgia.

As we all know, language is central to human identity and culture, the variations between one geographical region and another, which share a common linguistic origin, are one of the key factors that mark one nationality from another. In the development and maintenance of a feeling of national identity language is central, and the dictionary is the key tool to access and record that identity.

It is for the above reason that we, the board of EURALEX, have accepted to add our voices to the appeal launched by our Georgian colleagues for a full recognition of the discipline in Georgia. Within academia, lexicography is frequently overlooked, relegated to being a mere craft rather than an academic discipline. Such a notion is misguided and dangerous. Lexicographers not only study language for what it is, the central tool for communication, but also provide the means by which a language, and its underlying cultural values, may be taught and given full value within a society.

It is sufficient to see how the countries of central Europe, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, to name but a few, have given value to lexicography as a discipline so as to promote their own national identity. Lexicographers treat essential language information that shows not only our cultural roots, but also  our cultural future. It would be a great pity that Georgia should neglect its European roots in neglecting the necessity to promote the study of its language and in particular that great cultural vehicle: the dictionary. Lexicography is a supremely uniting discipline bringing together disciplines as diverse as language history, philology and computational and corpus linguistics. No computer system can be developed without a dictionary of some form, and yet the applications cannot be developed without giving lexicography its place as an independent discipline within academia.

Whilst it is not the place of EURALEX to be involved in any political issue, it is our role to actively promote lexicography as both a craft and a discipline. It is for this reason that the board of EURALEX accepts to add its voice to the call to the government of Georgia to give full recognition to lexicography and lexicographers in the pursuit of their endeavours and as active participants in the promotion of their language and culture as well as those values that unite us within Europe.

Yours faithfully

Geoffrey Williams

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