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Articles from JUNE 2009
June 24, 2009
Visual Thesaurus contributor Mark Peters writes: "After years of weird-word collecting, I'm pretty unfazed by words with multiple, redundant, exuberant suffixes... However, even I was gobsmacked out of my chair when I spotted mystery-y-ish-y." Read all about the suffix-y pileups Mark has found on OUPblog.
Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
June 23, 2009By Ben Zimmer
In the dictionary game, when you've found a historical example of word that is earlier than anything previously found, it's called an "antedating." Looking for antedatings in American English has been utterly transformed by the advent of digitized newspaper databases. Now, hot on the heels of my antedating of jazz in New Orleans, I have another early 20th-century discovery to report: from 1901, the first known proposal for using the title Ms. to refer to a woman regardless of her marital status. Continue reading...
Teachers at Work
A column about teaching
June 22, 2009By Shannon Reed
This article is going live on the first day of my last week of school for this school year. As you read this, if you're an early reader, I am packing up my colored chalk and putting away my homework charts for the summer. Continue reading...
Authors tell you what inspired their work
June 19, 2009
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!
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
June 17, 2009
In his new book, Slang: The People's Poetry, Indiana University English professor Michael Adams tackles the tough question: what is the nature of slang? Adams, also the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon, looks beyond dictionary definitions of slang to examine the fascinating interplay of social and aesthetic qualities in "the poetry of everyday speech." In this first of a two-part interview, Adams explains how the linguistic practice of slang balances the social and the aesthetic, and considers what directions slang might take in the future. Continue reading...