Tom McArthur and Globalex

Ilan Kernerman

In the end of 1997 and much of 1998, I had the good fortune to collaborate with Tom McArthur on editing Lexicography in Asia. Tom offered to co-edit when I asked for his paper from the Dictionaries in Asia Conference, which he didn’t have but proposed to rewrite as an introduction to the volume. He was kind, bright and visionary – early in developing interest in language radiating into new information science, from his reference science to (linguistic) data science today – and reciprocally and wholeheartedly both local and global.

Earlier in 1997 I wrote that “[a] future Globalex (or Unilex, in the words of Tom McArthur) concerns globalization and co-existence in multilingual societies” (cf. Towards PEOPLEX, KDN 5, 1997). Tom felt uneasy by the possible connotation of the word people in the title. In the introduction to Lexicography in Asia he wrote:

…it has now become possible to look forward to a conference devoted to ‘world lexicography’…that will seek to cover as wide a sampling as possible from our immense international heritage of reference materials, in all their formats, genres, rationales, writing systems, technologies, languages of origin, and languages of translation. It would be particularly good if the four continental – lexes and the DSNA could consider jointly sponsoring such a ‘Globalex’ development.


The wish for Globalex is answered and pursued.

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