Former dictionary chief says first time at a loss for words

Susan Butler AO.

Story appeared in: Torch | June 12th, 2018

YOU could say Earlwood resident Susan Butler had a way with words but that would be an understatement and testament to this is that she was honoured over the weekend, with an AO in the general division of the Order of Australia awards for her services as a lexicographer and author.
Susan was also recognised as a facilitator of academic discourse on Australia English language and for her contribution to commercial publishing.
Employed as a dictionary writer in 1970 for the first edition of Australia's own Macquarie Dictionary which was published in 1981 with her as the inaugural editor, Susan steered the group through the next seven revised editions and was also the spokesperson until her retirement earlier this year.
The Great Australian Spelling Bee judge has also authored several Australian English books, including 'The Aitch Factor' and 'The Dinkum Dictionary', and been a founding member of the Australasian Lexicography Society.
"It was a lovely surprise to be honoured with the AO and so nice to think there's an appreciation in the community for the dictionary, not just my work but the efforts of others," she said.
Susan is now working on her website and blog which goes live this week and is called, 'sue butler lexicographer at large'.
"I'm having fun with it," she explained. "For example did you know that 'raw water', a term that goes back to the 1600s, means water straight from a spring, still with its life force which is destroyed during processing. While 'rainbow water' has frequencies of love.
"These terms would never have arisen had it not been for the modern boom in bottled water. I'll be discussing lots of developments about language evolution in my blog."

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Publication: Torch | Section: News | Author: Cindy Lynch | Story ID: 137822 | Viewcount: 1961