It’s Friday … and I’ve got my proverbial shit together, so you know what that means: it’s time for another installment of the Reference News Roundup!
Once again, I’ve corralled the latest word, dictionary, and reference-related news and put it all together so you don’t have to go looking for it! I know, that might not sound like much, but I’ve been drinking, so pulling this together was a bit tougher than usual!
But hey, you don’t want to hear about me, so let’s get right to it, shall we? As usual, I’ll kick things off with my news item of the week.
Thanks for reading!
NEWS ITEM OF THE WEEK:
This one isn’t really about words, dictionaries, or references, but it’s super awesome, which is why I’ve given it top billing. Dig it.
By day the he is a highly-qualified professional with his secret known only to a handful of close family and friends.
But at night he becomes a shadowy figure who patrols the streets of Bristol, armed with his homemade ‘apostrophiser’ and purpose-built trestle.
His specially-made tool reaches the higher signs on shopfronts and road signs, replacing or covering rogue apostrophes wherever he sees them.
Words, like facts, have absolute meanings and spellings, despite Trump’s efforts to revise both.
After Ivanka Trump told CBS’ Gayle King that she didn’t know “what it means to be complicit,” Merriam-Webster took up the case.
Liberal is becoming a political insult. Used in such a fashion, it has little or no determinate meaning. Instead, it denotes that the liberal in question is wealthy and, precisely because he or she is doing well, out of touch with people who are not. It’s a stupid usage, and it is time to speak for liberal Britain, or at least to ask who can do so.
I’m just going to say it: the addition of these stupid, trendy words smacks of desperation and I wish dictionaries, whether in print or online, would cut it out. I mean, “hangry”? Who the fuck will be saying that in five years? Make it stop.
LANGUAGE & USAGE:
Hear ye, hear ye! From this point forth, and for the rest of time, it shall be permissible to spell the word “Earthling” with a capital “E” — just so long as you are judicious about it and don’t overuse the term as a synonym for humans, okay?
This ruling comes to you via The Washington Post copy desk and the fine folks at the Merriam-Webster dictionary after a spelling debate that called into question the dignity of humanity itself.
Universities are telling students that they should use “gender-neutral” language in their essays, or risk being marked down.
[Editorial remark: I am sensitive to and a user of non-sexist language, but this is ridiculous. Here’s to hoping this is “fake news.”]
DICTIONARIES OF ….
” A dictionary is a living record of a living language, and they’re important because language is important to us.”
An updated dictionary provides a fascinating look at words and expressions distinctively Canadian, with entries from “all-dressed” to “zed.”
Dictionaries are not closed archives but ceaseless endeavours; mere fractions of an impossible whole. They are “glorious gallimaufries”, observes the writer Robert Macfarlane in his own comprehensive glossary of place-words, immediately driving us all back to our dictionaries to discern his meaning.
“London changes so fast, [the writers of this piece] decided it was time to create a dictionary of contemporary words and phrases.”
[Editorial remark: It’s basically a list of terms snarkily defined. Think The Devil’s Dictionary, but not as clever.]
Although American Sign Language, used by 250,000 people in the United States, is widely recognized as a rich, complex language, ASL learners and researchers have never enjoyed the kind of large, comprehensive database available in other languages—until now.
The text includes over 400 signed entries by top researchers and clinicians from the fields of psychology, sociology, human development and gender/queer studies and offers an appendix with information on organizations, journals and websites related to various topics within the larger field of LGBTQ studies. It was designed for undergraduate students, graduate students, scholars of LGBTQ sexualities and lives, and others.
This is a comprehensive study of Pennsylvania German history, geography, culture, society, the arts and anything else that relates to the unique people — plain and fancier — who live in or have migrated from central Pennsylvania.
“I bought an Encyclopedia Britannica so my kids could do all their school research at home. It came with its own bookcase. It was classy. I felt smart.”
[Editorial remark: I don’t thing this guy was really into encyclopedias at all….]