Inside the OED: can the world’s biggest dictionary survive the internet?

oxford-english-dictionary
“At one level, few things are simpler than a dictionary: a list of the words people use or have used, with an explanation of what those words mean, or have meant. At the level that matters, though – the level that lexicographers fret and obsess about – few things could be more complex. Who used those words, where and when? How do you know? Which words do you include, and on what basis? How do you tease apart this sense from that? And what is “English” anyway?

In the case of a dictionary such as the OED – which claims to provide a “definitive” record of every single word in the language from 1000AD to the present day – the question is even larger: can a living language be comprehensively mapped, surveyed and described? Speaking to lexicographers makes one wary of using the word “literally”, but a definitive dictionary is, literally, impossible. No sooner have you reached the summit of the mountain than it has expanded another hundred feet. Then you realise it’s not even one mountain, but an interlocking series of ranges marching across the Earth. (In the age of “global English”, the metaphor seems apt.)”

Full Story: Andrew Dickson for “The Long Read” over at The Guardian

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The Language Scientific Blog

language scientific
“If you do not understand it, you can not translate it.”

The Language Scientific Blog is dedicated to helping you understand and translate all things related to the scientific, medical and technical industries.

How to Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

hyphen dashes
The differences between the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—) can be confusing. Comma Queen Mary Norris from The New Yorker clarifies the difference in a video from her wonderful Youtube channel.

Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978 and was a query proofreader at the magazine for twenty-four years. She has written for The Talk of the Town and for newyorker.com, on topics ranging from her cousin Dennis Kucinich to mud wrestling in Rockaway. She is best known for her pieces on pencils and punctuation. Her book, “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” (Norton), is now available in paperback.

Related article — The Chicago Manual of Style: Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

how to use dashes hyphens

Keyboard shortcuts for hyphens and dashes

hyphens dashes commandelated article

When to use “me”, “myself” and “I”

When to use %22me%22, %22myself%22 and %22I%22

Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.


Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Karrot Animation.

RhymeZone – Find rhymes, synonyms, and more

rhyme
RhymeZone is a great website to see how a word is used in the context of famous quotes, poems, and plays, but also an easy way of finding rhymes and a whole lot more. Here’s a brief overview of what Rhymezone can do for you:

Find rhymes: This function will return words that exactly rhyme with the word you typed in.
Find near rhymes: This function will return words that almost rhyme with the word you typed in.
Find synonyms: This function will return words that are the same or similar in meaning to the word you typed in.
Find anonyms: This function will return words that can mean the opposite of what you typed in.
Find definition: This function will search for definitions of the word you typed in. It will also allow you to submit your query to other online dictionaries on the Web.
Find homophones: This function will return words that have exactly the same pronunciation as what you typed in but are spelled differently.
Find similar sounding words: This function will return words that have a pronunciation that’s similar, but not necessarily the same, as what you typed in.
Match consonants: This option will return words that have the same pattern of consonant sounds. Phonetic, for example, will return fanatic.
Find related words: This option will return words that are related in some important way to what you typed in.
Find similar spellings: This option will return words in the dictionary that are spelled similarly to what you typed in. Use this feature to spell-check a word that you aren’t sure of.
Match these letters: This option will return words and phrases that contain the letters you type in.
Search for pictures: This function will search for kids-friendly pictures on the Web related to the word you typed in.
Search in Shakespeare: This function will search all of Shakespeare’s plays and poems for your word.