Topic : Dictionaries
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
July 13, 2009
As Major League Baseball heads into the All-Star break, we're taking advantage of the mid-season breather to think about the rich language of baseball. We talked to Paul Dickson, the sport's great lexicographer, about the monumental Dickson Baseball Dictionary. Recently published in its third edition, the dictionary has grown into a thousand-page tome of unprecedented breadth and scope. In the first part of our two-part interview, Dickson explains how his dictionary encompasses the whole history of baseball, from the early days of "protoball" to the latest statistical advances. Continue reading...
The OED is All a-Twitter
July 7, 2009
The lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary are plumbing a new source for language use: Twitter. Hear how the OED is making use of ephemeral "tweets" from Editor at Large Jesse Sheidlower, on the public radio program Future Tense.
June 19, 2009
When you're in need of guidance about a word or meaning, do you first turn to a dictionary or a thesaurus? New York Times columnist William Safire considers the relative merits in his latest "On Language" column. Safire doesn't just look at print references: the Visual Thesaurus gets a nice mention too!
After half a century of research, the monumental Dictionary of American Regional English is nearing completion. DARE chief editor Joan H. Hall recently talked to National Public Radio about the long, arduous journey of the dictionary, which will see its fifth and final volume published next year. As a "rantum scoot" into peculiar American speech, here are some sample regionalisms culled from DARE. Continue reading...
Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
June 4, 2009By Ben Zimmer
I recently made my way to Bloomington, Indiana for the biennial conference of the Dictionary Society of North America, a sublime convergence of unabashed word-nerdery. There was a fascinating array of paper presentations, on everything from grand old men like Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster to cutting-edge techniques in online lexicography. But one paper that I found particularly enjoyable had to do with a Victorian-era "Anglo-Indian glossary" that has had remarkable staying power over the past century or so, perhaps in part due to its memorable title: Hobson-Jobson. The paper, by Traci Nagle of Indiana University, took a look at exactly how the dictionary ended up with such a peculiar name. Continue reading...