Monday, November 16, 2009

Erin McKean Redefines the Dictionary- Live Blogging as Proofreading: Lauren Wozny

lexicography is the practise of compiling dictionaries.It's pro as a career is that you get to say fun words, but its con is that the dictionary is not necessarily considered fun.

The dictionary polices English. It keeps the good words in and the bad words out and to figure which words are which is a hard decision. Metaphorically the speaker wishes she was a fisherman and not a traffic conductor this way her job would be more fun. She blames the queen because the idea of the dictionary hasn't changed since Queen Victoria's time. The idea if the dictionary is old and outdated. Computers only speed up the process of compiling a dictionary, and they do not actually change the end result. It has the same old design with a different engine. Online dictionaries aren't much of a change the only replicate the same problems of the printed dictionary. Online dictionaries really just promote serendipity.

There is a Misconception that words that are not in the dictionary are bad, when really its the other way around. The size of the dictionary is what is limited, not our language. We can't limit ourselves to only "good" words otherwise we know noting about the "bad" ones. We can often create wonderful expression with so called bad words. Love of a word makes it real; if you love it then use it.

Words that aren't in the dictionary are very common. We don't need more people policing the traffic because of this, but we do need help keeping track of these words and definitions. It helps us to find the shape of the language. The dark spots on the map of our language are the words that are not defined by the dictionary. If we only know what is in the light we have no real judgment of what our language is. We need to know the source of the word and its history and many sites on the internet do not include this. The dictionary doesn't symbolized our language, but we can make it that way. We just need to expand it. The book form isn't useful enough and it needs to be changed.

1 comment:

  1. First paragraph requires a capital. The second sentence is awkward.

    Misconception "m" lowercase.

    The essay flows and makes sense; especially considering the five minute deadline.

    The only other suggestion is some of the ideas could have been grouped differently.