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November 16, 2002

11,770 words

Okay, so I just need to roughly double that by the end of the weekend. Ha!

I think it would be a wonderful job to be a lexicographer - one who writes, edits, or compiles a dictionary. A new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is just out, and it includes terms like "Klingons," "Jedi knights," and "go commando." Happily, Helen Fielding's added her own contributions: "singleton" and "smug married" from Bridget Jones's Diary. In a recent NY Times article, Angus Stevenson, one of the coauthors, brings up details from the world of lexicography:

He said the detective work made the job particularly interesting, though it might not be for everyone. "Obviously the majority of language references is not made up of fun phrases like 'go commando,' and we spend a lot of time arguing with equal vehemence about things that would seem extremely obscure to average people," he said.
He brightened at the recollection of one of them. "The verb 'to text' " he said. "That's the kind of thing that lexicographers get very excited about. 'Oh, they're using "text" as a verb'? We love that sort of thing."
I love that sort of thing, too.

Yours, &c., LC | 12:20 PM | Writing & Language