Sue Atkins

Sue Atkins has been a professional lexicographer since 1966, first with Collins Publishers (now HarperCollins), where she was General Editor of the first ‘modern’ innovative English-French dictionary, the Collins-Robert English-French Dictionary, then as Lexicographic Adviser to Oxford University Press, where she pioneered an effective methodology for the creation of bilingual dictionaries from corpus data, resulting in the Oxford-Hachette English-French Dictionary. She is currently Lexicographic Adviser to the FrameNet project at the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, California, and a member of the Advisory Board of the American National Corpus, and the International Journal of Lexicography.

In 2000, Sue was awarded an honorary D Litt by the University of Brighton, UK, for services to lexicography and linguistics, national and international. In 2002 she received a festschrift published by the European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX) to mark her contribution to international lexicography, and was made an Honorary Life Member of EURALEX, of which she is a Past President. In 2008, in recognition of her “significant contributions to the development of lexicographic practices worldwide and in particular for the African languages in South Africa”, Sue received an honorary D Litt from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Sue has organised and taught at many professional and academic training courses and workshops in lexicography, and held lexicographic consultancies with a number of prestigious research institutions. She has participated in important national and international research projects in the field of computational lexicography, and originated the idea of the British National Corpus.

Her principal interests include:

  • the lexical analysis of corpus data, and in particular the use of linguistic theory as a basis for a systematic description of the language;
  • designing databases to store lexicographic data for use by human lexicographers and computer lexicons;
  • using such databases in the creation of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries;
  • the training of lexicographers; and
  • the study of how people actually use dictionaries.