Workhop on Lexicography in Indigenous Languages of the Americas.

 Fall in Ottawa


The making of dictionaries is one of the tasks where academic linguistics can most relevantly contribute to community language projects and language preservation. At the same time, it is a task in which native speakers can take a lead with relatively little linguistic training, and is thus a perfect candidate for community-led research.

A number of remarkable products have appeared in all parts of the Americas in recent years, from online platforms and tools to make data entry simpler in unfavorable work conditions, to publications in a more traditional format that show previously unseen detail in the description of meaning. Several challenges remain for all parts involved. Though training instances exist, not many open forums have taken place where innovations and challenges in dictionary-making can be discussed.

The workshop on Lexicography in Indigenous Languages of the Americas aims to fill this gap by gathering linguists, native speakers, language activists, and other stakeholders to discuss dictionary-making in an environment supportive of non-academic approaches and practical community initiatives. Native speakers of Indigenous languages involved in dictionary-making are particularly encouraged to participate, and the challenges that are specific to their work are a major focus of the workshop.

The workshop is planned to be held in person, contingent on the sanitary situation and any restrictions on gathering or movement. All talks will be live-streamed and recorded (speakers may opt out if they wish), and we plan to be flexible in terms of accommodating remote presentations where needed.

This workshop will be held concurrently with the Semantics of Under-represented Languages of the Americas workshop, aimed at formal semanticists working with Indigenous and other under-represented languages native to the Americas. The organizers hope that the joint realization will foster new connections between theoretical research and its practical applications.

Both workshops are supported by the Faculty of Arts and the Research Development Program at the University of Ottawa.

Invited speakers

The following invited speakers have confirmed their participation:

  • Christine Beier, University of California at Berkeley and Cabeceras Project
  • Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, University of Victoria
  • Marie-Odile Junker, Carleton University
  • Hannes Kalisch, Nengvaanemkeskama Nempayvaam Enlhet
  • Marie-Claude Mattéi-Müller, Universidad Central de Venezuela
  • Lev Michael, University of California at Berkeley and Cabeceras Project
  • Mary Ann Naokwegijig-Corbiere, University of Sudbury
  • Gilles Polian, CIESAS Sureste

2022 Call for abstracts

Abstracts at most one page long (with an optional extra page for references and examples) for (a) 20-minute in-person talks and for (b) posters may be submitted until August 15th. Abstracts should be written in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French. Talks and posters may in addition be delivered in any indigenous language of the Americas.

Abstracs should be sent by email to, with subject line "Lexicography abstract", and the following information in the body of the message: (1) title of the talk, identical to that in the anonymous attachment, (2) author(s) name(s) and institution(s), and (3) whether the abstract is for a talk or a poster. The sender's email address will be used as the correspondence address, unless indicated in the body of the email.


The program may be downloaded here. Registration is free, but please fill out the registration form.

Links to handouts, asynchronous poster presentations, and a live stream of the conference will be available here from October 12th.


The organizing committee for LILA is headed by Andrés Pablo Salanova.

SULA and LILA are made possible thanks to the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through Connection grant 611-2022-0053, with additional support from the Faculty of Arts and the Research Development Program at the University of Ottawa, the Department of Linguistics and the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Ottawa, and the Embassy of Paraguay in Canada.