Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: lexicographer

The Importance of Words ~ What’s Your Take?


Not everyone thinks words are important—ever known someone who uses about 100 words and is usually very hard to understand?

How about the person who knows 20,000 words and totally confuses you?

I’m an admitted “word-freak” but I feel I’ve learned some practical vocabularic restraint—I love to study words but I try not to use the ones that “most” folks don’t know

So, since I’m hoping some of my readers will use the Comments to share their feelings about the importance of words, but I’m clearly aware most readers don’t leave comments, I’ll share a few links to posts in the Oxford Dictionaries blog—if I see in the Stats that folks have clicked on the following links, I’ll have learned something about my readers :-)

* A very, extremely, highly, really, most *unique* opportunity!!

* Kapow! The language of comics

* Boomerang vocabulary: words that return to their origins

* Why do some words have two opposite meanings?

What are your thoughts and feelings on the importance of words?

How big should a person’s vocabulary be?

Really, no Really, what are words??

Addendum—Quotes About Words:

All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man’s actions.
Albert Einstein

As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.
William Shakespeare

Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.
William Shakespeare

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
Mahatma Gandhi

Eating words has never given me indigestion.
Winston Churchill

Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.
Mark Twain

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
Confucius
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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“A word to the wise ain’t necessary…”


That title is only the beginning of a quote from the comedian Bill Cosby.

Here’s the full quote: “A word to the wise ain’t necessary—it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”

And, to be honest with you, our current world culture is full of folks who are in charge but are eminently stupid.

Let’s check a dictionary for “stupid” and compare it with the actions of just one group of people who are, sadly, “in charge”—financiers.

STUPID = “Lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity; in a state of mental numbness especially as resulting from shock; lacking intelligence; and, devoid of good sense or judgment.”

You may not agree with my assessment of financiers but using dictionaries is undeniably important in Reading, Writing, and Publishing—the three main topics of this blog.

Last year, I wrote a post called Dictionary Evangelist. I do hope you’ll take that link and watch the video there—go ahead—I’ll wait right here

So, that was Erin McKean, a founder and the CEO of the online dictionary Wordnik and, previously, the Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary.

Wordnik is irrevocably Cool since it’s a dictionary that you can add words to—based on Erin’s philosophy that dictionaries shouldn’t be compiled by traffic cops but by folks who fish

This woman is definitely a phenomenon since she’s not only a celebrated lexicographer but also writes for The Boston Globe and has had a blog about dresses for 7 years ( A Dress A Day ).

Plus, she has a great article in The New York Times called Using Undictionaried Words—here’s an excerpt:

“…serve as your own lexicographer and shine your own light on largely undiscovered words. For it’s a kind of lexical Catch-22: since editors at most traditional dictionaries won’t include a word until they see published evidence of its use, holding off on using a word just because it’s not in the dictionary can actually delay its inclusion.”

Not hard to see why I, a man whose favorite word is “word”, find this woman’s work fascinating
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Dictionary Evangelist


Ever used a dictionary?

Since most readers of this blog more than likely have some interest in reading, writing, or publishing, odds are you have looked into a dictionary :-)

So what are the people who make dictionaries called? Lexicographers << Whew! Quite a word

I’m going to share a video of a talk by lexicographer, Erin McKean. She’s a serious student of words and still manages to deliver a talk that’s humorous while being highly informative.

She feels that most dictionaries, paper or Web, act like traffic cops–deciding which words are acting “legal” enough to be in a dictionary.

She created an online dictionary, Wordnik, that you can actually add words to!!

This video is so much fun I think it might be illegal :-)

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