Water cooler conversation at a dictionary company tends towards the odd. ACCORDING TO NEED,.. PERHAPS.. Truly, Dracula is, linguistically speaking, all things to all men. Don’t be surprised. TALK,, A BLUE JAY,, PICKS ONLY THE BEST OF PEANUTS.. AND BIRDS. Pop culture is a goldmine of neologisms, and science fiction and fantasy is one rich seam that has been contributing to English for hundreds of years. "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness!" There are some citations for ‘hobbitses’, but I think they may be facetious uses. No matter how many people believe that “news” really comes from “north, east, west, south,” we will never be able to go back in time and rewrite history such that their opinion turns into fact. Indeed, we have whole cable channels devoted to sci-fi and fantasy shows, and the big blockbuster movie this season is Star Trek (again). No schools matching your search criteria were found ! Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. It must be the young blood of Miss Lucy! It doesn’t matter how many people write in or @ us on Twitter to say that they believe that the real etymology of “news” is “north, east, west, south”: that doesn’t make it any more real. Preparing you for future AP success, Advanced Language & Literature is an ideal solution for tenth grade English and Pre-AP classes. To feel sick is […], “This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.” Even new words can look old: JK Rowling’s “muggle” is a coinage of her own devising – but there are earlier, rarer “muggles” entered into the Oxford English Dictionary (one meaning “a tail resembling that of a fish”, and another meaning “a young woman or sweetheart”), along with a “dumbledore” (“a bumble-bee”) and a “hagrid” (a variant of “hag-ridden” meaning “afflicted by nightmares”). Why don’t we use ye or thee and thou anymore? I also consider Kory Stamper a friend. We perhaps need to take into account the fact that Dracula has lived in England, however, which would account for his widely wandering phonology which at any moment places him in Italy by way of Poland by way of New York. Change ), Create a website or blog at WordPress.com, A Sociolinguistic Study of American Slang. Okay so hear me out, I think we as a society have been spelling the word ‘vampire’ wrong. His awards and recognitions include the White House Distinguished Teacher Award, the Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education, the Washington State Award for Professional Excellence, and the Woodring College of Education Award for Outstanding Teaching. If you listen closely, you will clearly hear the bilabial stop /b/. ( Log Out /  “Tricorder”, for instance, is used in print, but most often only to refer to the medical diagnostic device used in the Star Trek movies. And where do they and she come from? TALK,, but I’m going to do it like this because I cannot quite master whatever convention you’re using that dictates the doubled comma versus the doubled period. According to Stamper, the modern “swag” is generally a shortened version of the verb “swagger,” which was used by William Shakespeare to represent an insolent cockiness. May 8, 2015 at 10:00 (Friday) And Swift’s fantasy novel was so evocative, we adopted a number of words from it, such as “Lilliputian”, the tongue-twisting “Brobdingnagian”, and – surprise – “yahoo”. And in 1786, English playwright William Davies wrote “cask set in motion, swag, swag” because he liked how it finished a line. ( Log Out /  Savvy writers of each genre also liked to resurrect and breathe new life into old words. May 23, 2015 at 10:00 (Saturday) Lance Balla is former curriculum developer and current principal at Everett High School in Washington. “Eldritch”, which dates to the 1500s, is linked in the modern mind almost exclusively to the stories of HP Lovecraft. —not actually Winston Churchill. JK Rowling invented ‘Quidditch’ in her Harry Potter books, but ‘muggle’ once meant ‘a tail resembling that of a fish’. It’s a very good way of describing what words mean based on their contextual use. AND MEASURES.. JRR Tolkien not only gave us “hobbit”, he also popularized the plural “dwarves”, which has appeared in English with increasing frequency since the publication of The Hobbit in 1937. In some cases, the people who gave us the word aren’t keen to see it taken outside of its intended world and used with an extended meaning. We attempt to untangle this existential crisis in the latest in this ridiculously long series on dictionary correspondence. They are just waiting on your local library’s shelves for you. Which brings us to the familiar and more modern era of sci-fi and fantasy, ones filled with tricorders, lightsabers, dark lords in fiery mountain fortresses, and space cowboys. (John F. Kennedy), April 25, 2015 at 10:00 (Saturday) If the editorial email is to be believed, many people have figured out that lexicographers are descriptivists, but they have not yet figured out what, exactly, we are describing. Change ). We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. It is, however, pretty ill-suited to etymology, which is what you’re talking about here. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Since then, swag has been used in popular music lyrics by artists like Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Eminem, and Justin Bieber. BY WEIGHT.. AND IF YOU NEED FURTHER REFS.. The first half, on the loss of ye […], Last week a story started making the rounds claiming that the Australian accent is the result of an “alcoholic slur” from heavy-drinking early settlers. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The spellings of words as presented in the dictionary are completely descriptivist–they’re based on how the word is spelled in the vast majority of modern prose–so this is whoa if true. A recent discussion on Twitter about whether the line “I’m gonna have to science the shit out out of this” was in Andy Weir’s book The Martian or was only found in the movie reminded me of one of my favorite facts: science and shit are related. Copyright Jonathon Owen. Whither “gorram”? As I am no expert on old-time traditional vampires and their speech patterns, I had to go back to the authoritative source: Mel Brooks’ 1995 hit, “Dracula: Dead and Loving It.”. Though fantasy and sci-fi have invented hundreds of new words, only a few pass muster to make it into the dictionary. Descriptivism, however, has its limits. Have any thoughts?”. In addition, she has a personal blog called harm•less drudg•ery. No active courses are available for this discipline. Check out the article here. Yes, hundreds: because what is Gulliver’s Travels but a fantasy satire of 18th-century travel novels? (Libby Page, The Guardian), Most language students unable to do more than understand basic phrases (Lucy Ward, The Guardian), The meaning of ‘moot’ is a moot point – whichever variety of English you speak (David Marsh, The Guardian), Why I would choose an immersion course over a language degree (Fred McConnell, The Guardian). ( Log Out /  Other forms of this informal word have been used even earlier. Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced the word back to 1988, in a Newsday story that had …