Browsing Month September, 2007

Enjoy the riffle of onionskin as dictionary days are upon us

Joan Houston Hall, editor in chief of the Dictionary of American Regional English, answers questions for David Medaris of The Daily Page in preparation for the Wisconsin Book Festival October 10-14, 2007. What question has nobody ever asked you about DARE that you most wish someone would ask, and how would you answer it? “How more…

Good news! The radio show stays on the air!

My radio partner Martha Barnette, our producer Stefanie Levine, and I are as happy as dogs with two tails: we’ve struck a deal that will keep our radio show, A Way with Words, on the air. Read more about it here. We’re already working on new full-hour episodes, which will broadcast in San Diego and more…

UPDATED: What the hell are those lexicographers thinking?

Colleague and friend Erin McKean is guestblogging about dictionaries and lexicography this week over at The Volokh Conspiracy. Part 1: The Myth of the Lexicographer-Judge. “The other myth about lexicographers is that we are horrified, appalled, and indeed, quite put out when we see misspellings, nonstandard usages, slang, or informality in general. This is ridiculous—it’s more…

The ten best Scottish words

Clare Smith has fun in the Scotsman as she nominates her ten best Scottish words: bauchle, blether, dreich, fankle, gallus, mooch, pockle, slitter, wabbit, and wheesht. I knew only blether, gallus, and mooch (Western meaning, which I believe is the only one used in the US).

Difficulties of bilingualism: “How come my cousins speak Spanish and I don’t?”

Two articles underscore the difficulties in achieving bilingualism in children even when you want them to be bilingual. Counter to what the English-only, English-first, or English-as-official-language believers say, it’s incredibly difficult to get a child to speak fluently in any language but those that dominate a society—so laws, campaigns, and cuts in bilingual education aren’t more…

Six months

Big accomplishments for the boy over the last month: His first solid food. His first teeth—two, on the bottom. Lots of syllable-sounding talk over the last few days. It’s the kind of noise that makes you think if you just listened hard enough you could make out words. Also still the cutest baby in the more…

Madeline Kripke: dictionary collector

Joan Hall, editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English, forwarded this link to the email list of the Dictionary Society of North America: The Gifted in Pursuit of the Valued from Americana Exchange. It’s a long, contemplative story (including an audio interview) about Madeleine Kripke, a New York City rare book dealer and antiquarian more…

Funny ideas about language

Arnold Zwicky’s granddaughter Opal has some funny ideas about language: At one point on that trip to Germany, Opal awoke from napping in her mother’s arms to find Elizabeth negotiating with a desk clerk in German. Opal shrieked, demanded to be let down, and ran to the door, trying to get out of the pension. more…

De-hyphenizing a dictionary

One of the more interesting aspects of the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is that the editorial team, lead by Angus Stevenson, (not Jesse Sheidlower, as mistakenly reported by the American Spectator; Jesse is only doing publicity for the new edition) chose to remove the hyphens from many words. BBC has a fairly decent story more…

Dictionaries become 3D objets d’art

Found on Boing Boing, Brian Dettmer carves up reference works so that the flat images on interior pages take on shape and form.