A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles

A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP) is available in a 1967 edition (Avis et al. 1967) and in a 2017 expanded, updated and partially revised edition (Dollinger and Fee 2017). DCHP is a historical usage dictionary of words, expressions, or meanings which are native to Canada or which are distinctively characteristic of Canadian usage though not necessarily exclusive to Canada. The first edition was edited by Walter S. Avis (ed.-in-chief), C. Crate, P. Drysdale, D. Leechman, M. H. Scargill, C. J. Lovell, and published in 1967 by W. J. Gage Limited.

DCHP-1 was published after a period of about 12 years, and had a sizeable collection by C. J. Lovell at its base. W. J. Gage Publishers, the leading dictionary publisher for Canadian English (CanE) dictionaries at the time, contributed to the project (P. Drysdale was employed by Gage).[1] In this way, the first edition (DCHP-1) was the result of both academia and a publishing house. More importantly, however, the academic partner, headed by editor-in-chief Walter S. Avis, were given free hand. The result, despite all monetary constraints and pre-computer editing techniques, was a ground-breaking dictionary in several ways: the DCHP-1 was the first scholarly historical dictionary of a variety of English other than British English (see OED) or American English (DAE, DA) (Dollinger 2006), the two dominant varieties of English throughout the 20th century.

Meanwhile, other varieties of English have become the focus of historical dictionary projects: Australian (Ramson 1988), South African (Silva 1996), and New Zealand (Orsman 1997).

In 2006, after more than 40 years of existence without any updates, work on a new edition was started. Nelson Education Ltd., which acquired Gage Ltd. and with it the rights to the DCHP-1 had been actively seeking collaborators in academia to produce a new edition of the DCHP-1. This project, DCHP-2, was proposed at a conference on Canadian English in January 2005,[2] and formally commenced at the University of British Columbia's Department of English in August 2006, after a year of preparatory work. Since 2009, DCHP-2 has had no association with Nelson Ltd. or any other publisher and had been a purely academic project.


Completed in 2011 after automatic scanning and manual proofreading by a team of UBC students under the direction of Stefan Dollinger,[3] DCHP-1 was republished in open access as of 2013, thanks to Nelson Ltd. (Dollinger et al. 2013), and is available as a free website, DHCP-1 Online.[4]

DCHP-2, fully revised and expanded, is published 2017 (thanks to a three-year SSHRC Insight Grant, Competition 2012, Insight Grants).[5]

Release of DCHP-2

DCHP-2, the second, reconceptualized and updated edition was released online on 17 March 2017.[6]

The launch coincided with the 57th anniversary of Charles J. Lovell's passing, the founding editor of DCHP-1. DCHP-1 was launched as a Centennial project; DCHP-2 was launched as a Sesquicentennial contribution with the goal of lifting the discussion about Canadianisms, and about Canadian English more generally, on an empirically sounder footing.[7]

See also


  1. Scragill 1967. Preface to DCHP-1. http://www.dchp.ca/DCHP-1/pages/frontmatter#preface
  2. Barber, Katherine; Considine, John; Friend, David; Pratt, Terry (January 30, 2005). "Towards a Second Edition of A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles" (PDF). Conference on Canadian English in the Global Context. University of Toronto Department of Linguistics. Retrieved 21 September 2015. Abstract of panel discussion.
  3. Dollinger, Stefan; et al., eds. (2011). "A Brief History of DCHP, A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, 1954—2011". DHCP.ca. Vancouver, BC, Canada: University of British Columbia. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  4. Dollinger, Stefan; Brinton, Laurel J.; Fee, Margery, eds. (2013). "DHCP-1 Online". DHCP.ca. Vancouver, BC, Canada: University of British Columbia. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  5. ; 2nd ed. 2017 in Canadian Literature
  6. Dollinger, Stefan & Margery Fee (2017). DCHP-2: The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, Second Edition. With the assistance of Baillie Ford, Alexandra Gaylie, and Gabrielle Lim. www.dchp.ca/dchp2. Vancouver, BC: UBC. pp. online.
  7. Valpy, Michael (10 March 2017). "Dictionary of Canadianisms is 'tabled' and 'all-dressed'". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 19 February 2018.


  • Cassidy, Frederick G. and Joan Houston Hall (eds.). 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, in prep. Dictionary of American Regional English. Volumes I–V. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Craigie, William and James R. Hulbert (eds.). 1968 [1938–44]. A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles. 4 volumes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • DA = Dictionary of Americanisms. See Mathews (ed.) 1951.
  • DAE = A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles. See Craigie and Hulbert (eds.) 1968 [1938–44].
  • DARE = Dictionary of American Regional English. See Cassidy and Hall (eds.) 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, in prep.
  • OED = Oxford English Dictionary
  • Dollinger, Stefan. 2006. "Towards a fully revised and extended edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-2): background, challenges, prospects". HSL/SHL – Historical Sociolinguistics/Sociohistorical Linguistics (Leiden, NL). 6. http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/hsl_shl/DCHP-2/DCHP-2/DCHP-2.htm, 1 Sept. 2006.

Further reading

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