Word lovers love the people who define our words, the lexicographers who spend their time identifying new construction and new usage and tracing etymology and relationships.
These are among the rock stars of the word world, and they share a symbiotic relationship with the copyeditors. Copyeditors turn to the dictionaries to decide whether a word is appropriate, and lexicographers look for evidence of word usage in written text.
Last week, gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people and injured others, reportedly for its treatment of Islam in its pages, particularly its treatment of Mohammed in political cartoons.
No matter what you think of the content in Charlie Hebdo, I hope we can all agree that murdering people who write and draw offensive things is wrong.
Manydifferent Words of the Year are selected by dictionaries and other organizations, but the culmination of this annual examination of language and culture is tonight: The American Dialect Society chooses the 201
The Daily Currant is a fake news site with stories often shared on Facebook and elsewhere not because they’re funny, but because they’re plausible. Where The Onion leans to the ridiculous when it skewers politicians and celebrities, The Daily Currant cuts close to the truth, attributing outlandish statements to people prone to making outlandish statements.
The word culture entered the language in its most common forms less than two centuries ago, but in all its forms it is in the top 1,000 most-common words in American English. According to the Corpus of Contemporary American English, culture ranks 612, making it more frequently seen than brother, marriage, opportunity, and stuff.
It's a tough time to be a publisher. Paying the bills without subsidies doesn't seem to be something the big businesses can do. It's always sad to hear of a publisher struggling, getting eaten up by a competitor, leaving for foreign ports, or just closing shop. This week, a petition is circulating to save funding for Wilfrid Laurier University Press. A hard-nosed business person might suggest that a company that can't support itself is due for change.
If you want to make a big splash for the word lover on your gift list, you can’t go wrong by wrapping all six volumes of the Dictionary of American Regional English. It will set you back $740, or $650 if you skip the index and supplemental material that comes with Volume VI.
If that seems costive (Ozarks) or spendy (Northwest), you could go with an online subscription. Less impressive than a stack of books that won’t quite fit under the tree but perhaps more useful, the digital subscription to DARE can be had for the holidays for half price: $75.