Dr Susan Rennie
- Lecturer (English Language and Linguistics)
telephone: 0141 330 7586
- Scots language
- Lexicography and lexicology
- Dictionary history
- John Jamieson
- James Boswell
- Digital humanities
- Scots resources for schools
Before joining the University in 2012, I worked for many years as a professional lexicographer. I have written and contributed to a range of dictionaries and thesauruses, including the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary, and have particular interests in Scots-language lexicography and children’s dictionaries. I was a Senior Editor with the Scottish National Dictionary Association from 1996 to 2000, and created the first Scots-language spellchecker (CannieSpell) and the Electronic Scots School Dictionary in 1998. From 2001 to 2004, I was Editor of the Dictionary of the Scots Language at the University of Dundee: a project funded by the AHRB to digitize both the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary for online publication. I was also involved in the early planning for the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech.
In 2001, I was one of the co-founders of Itchy Coo Books, a Scots-language imprint funded by a grant from the Scottish Arts Council, and I have written several books for children in Scots, including a grammar for schools and the award-winning Animal ABC: A Scots Alphabet.
Through my work as a lexicographer I have developed an interest in dictionary history, and my doctoral thesis (2010) was the first full-length study of John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language of 1808. A revised version was published as a monograph by Oxford University Press in 2012. I have also helped to develop an online facsimile edition of Jamieson’s Dictionary and Supplement.
My current research project is on James Boswell’s Scottish Dictionary, the manuscript materials for which I discovered in the Bodleian Library in 2008. This work, which was the first attempt to compile a dictionary of Scots, was begun by Boswell in his youth in the 1760s, but never completed. I am currently preparing an edition of the surviving manuscript, which will include details of how the manuscript came to be lost and found, and will place it in the context of Boswell’s life and of attitudes to Scots in the eighteenth century.