Friday, September 23, 2011

Real words?

Don't expect a dictionary to tell you if a word is "real" or not. Dictionary writers--a.k.a. "lexicographers"--"themselves disavow any such role — their inclusion of “w00t” or “staycation” means little more than that the words have been popping up a lot lately, writes Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist who teaches at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley (that's Nunberg on the left).

Click here to read  "When a Dictionary Could Outrage," Nunberg's brief account of why Webster's Third New International Dictionary, published in 1961 by Merriam-Webster, signaled a turning point in Ameri­can attitudes about language.

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