B. T. S. Atkins

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Beryl T. ("Sue") Atkins has been a professional lexicographer since 1966, first with Collins Publishers (now HarperCollins), where she was General Editor of the first 'modern' English-French dictionary, the Collins-Robert English-French Dictionary, then as Lexicographic Adviser to Oxford University Press, where she pioneered methodology for the creation of bilingual dictionaries from corpus data, ultimately resulting in the Oxford-Hachette English-French Dictionary. Among her most important contributions to corpus linguistics, Sue Atkins originated the idea of the British National Corpus.[citation needed]

She was educated at James Gillespie's High School in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh University in 1952 with a first class honours degree in French with Spanish.[citation needed]

Among her honors, are an honorary DLitt by the University of Brighton (2000), UK, for services to lexicography and linguistics; a festschrift (2002) published by EURALEX to mark her contribution to international lexicography, and an honorary DLitt by the University of Pretoria (2008) for significant contributions to the development of lexicographic practices worldwide and in particular for the African languages in South Africa. She is also Past President and Honorary Life Member of the European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX).[citation needed]

Sue Atkins currently teaches and consults in lexicography, and participates in national and international research projects in the field of computational lexicography. She is a 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.[citation needed]

Among her most widely cited papers is "Predictable Meaning Shift: Some Linguistic Properties of Lexical Implication Rules", published in 1991.[1] The colloquial quip, "to verbize one's nouns", would be an example of a lexical implication rule.

She is the author, with Michael Rundell, of The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography (2008),[citation needed] and, with Tom McArthur, of the Dictionary of English Phrasal Verbs and their Idioms (1974).[citation needed]

Linguist John McHardy Sinclair was her brother.[2]


  1. ^ Ostler, Nicholas; Atkins, B. T. S. (1991). "Predictable Meaning Shift: Some Linguistic Properties of Lexical Implication Rules". Proceedings of the First SIGLEX Workshop on Lexical Semantics and Knowledge Representation (Springer-Verlag) 627: 87–100. doi:10.1007/3-540-55801-2_29. 
  2. ^ Tom McArthur, Living Words: Language, Lexicography and the Knowledge Revolution (University of Exeter Press, 1998: ISBN 0-85989-620-X), p. 178.

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