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Posts Tagged: lexicography

Examining the Dictionary for Sexism

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We need to know that the dictionary, as an institution, has a cultural power beyond the sum of its parts…And that does carry with it a responsibility to realize that we exist within that tension, and to not always hide behind the idea of descriptivist lexicography Over at the New Yorker, Nora Caplan-Bricker compiles stories […]

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The Making of the OED

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The Oxford English Dictionary, the first comprehensive catalog of the English language, took seventy years to compile. Volunteers aided the project, and one of the biggest contributors happened to be a murderer who lived in an insane asylum: Through the years, the OED’s editor had enlisted hundreds of volunteers around the English-speaking world, and probably […]

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Brave New Words

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This year in the decline of the English language, Dictionary.com has added words like “slacktivism,” “lifehack,” and “basic,” according to the Dictionary.com blog. On the positive side, they finally added definitions for gender-inclusive words like “agender,” “bigender,” and “gender-fluid,” and that is a step in the right direction.

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Properly Blootered

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The New Republic has taken the task of dissecting our collective drunkenness; or at least the words we’ve used to describe it: There seems to be a universal trend to avoid stating the obvious. To describe someone as simply drunk, in drink, or in liquor is accurate but evidently uninspiring. One fruitful vein is to find terms that characterize […]

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Not All Books Are Novels

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People have taken to using the terms “book” and “novel” interchangeably, but non-fiction books are not novels, Ben Yagoda explains over at Slate. The shift might be attributed to the post-modern zeitgeist that blends fact and fiction into a fuzzy truth, or it might come down to language: I tend to view it more pragmatically. […]

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An Agnostic, Chortling Freelance Space-Yahoo

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Amid all the meanings and uses that give a word its weight, it’s easy to forget that language is ultimately a system of arbitrary signs. Lexicographer Paul Dickson’s new book “Authorisms—Words Wrought by Writers” chronicles some of the most dynamic moments in a language’s history: those instances when writers endeavored not just to create with […]

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