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Webster's Dictionary...

Posted by Bob on August 12, 2003

In Reply to: Webster's Dictionary... posted by ESC on August 12, 2003

: :
: : Here's a link to an article about the new words included in the new edition of Webster's Dictionary. On a philosophic note, I know the language is bound to change but I can't help but feel like the barbarians are at the gate.

: Interesting article. I love righteous indignation. I read somewhere that OED never deletes words.

The careful distinction (or so my grade school teachers stressed) was that a dictionary was descriptive, not prescriptive, that it merely recorded the language AS USED BY A MAJORITY OF EDUCATED PEOPLE. (Emphasis added, because some new dictionaries throw away that clause.) To legitimize "alright" is just plain wrong. Only half-wits and ignoramuses make that mistake. No educated person would use that word. In fact, it's one of many litmus tests that determine if you are indeed educated. If you don't know the difference between "less" and "fewer," you are ipso facto a nincompoop, and will not be allowed to have a say in what goes into the dictionary. Likewise, the very real distinction between "disinterested" and "uninterested." I wonder if this new abomination allows the use of "alot," which would be the final straw. We'd have to have a book burning.

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