Sunday, October 22, 2006


This is a great talk given as part of Google's 'Authors at Google' speaker series. The speaker is Erin McKean, editor and lexicographer for the New Oxford American Dictionary.

It's subject is the ten things she wishes people knew about dictionaries; but the simple title doesn't indicate how interesting the subject matter is. It's a very interesting look into the complexity, richness, and fluidity of the English language. Great for fans of etymology, but has implications to all kinds of other spaces too.

One great example: Every dictionary, no matter how small, will have the word lexicographer in it. Why? Bias. That's the chosen profession of the person editing the dictionary. (Go think about THAT, wikipedians!)

I also learned something I didn't know about (which I use all the time): They use dictionaries that are out of copyright (at least some of them) so they are >50 years out of date!

Along the same lines, another site I've subscribed to as of late is Mother Tongue Annoyances. A lot of cool articles on language and speaking there. I particularly like the post on Three Things Our President Needs, which is a language buff's post about Bush and 'Bushisms'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thanks for posting about this!