Portland Public Library

Word by word, the secret life of dictionaries, Kory Stamper

Word by word, the secret life of dictionaries, Kory Stamper
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-284) and index
index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
Word by word
Nature of contents
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Kory Stamper
Sub title
the secret life of dictionaries
"Brimming with intelligence and personality, a vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made - a must read for word mavens. Have you ever tried to define the word "is?" Do you have strong feelings about the word (and, yes, it is a word) "irregardless?" Did you know that OMG was first used in 1917, in a letter to Winston Churchill? These are the questions that keep lexicographers up at night. While most of us might take dictionaries for granted, the process of writing dictionaries is in fact as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography, from the agonizing decisions about what and how to define, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why the small words are the most difficult to define, how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. Throughout Stamper brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster, a surprisingly rich world inhabited by quirky and erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. A sure delight for all lovers of words, Harmless Drudges will also improve readers' grasp and use of the English language"--, Provided by publisher
Table Of Contents
Hrafnkell: on falling in love -- But: on grammar -- It's: on "grammar" -- Irregardless: on wrong words -- Corpus: on collecting the bones -- Surfboard: on defining -- Pragmatic: on examples -- Take: on small words -- Bitch: on bad words -- Posh: on etymology and linguistic originalism -- American dream: on dates -- Nuclear: on pronunciation -- Nude: on correspondence -- Marriage: on authority and the dictionary -- Epilogue: the damnedest thing
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