Friday, August 31, 2007

Erin McKean's gone fishin'

Erin McKean is editor in chief of the Oxford American Dictionary. On the side she holds a position as editor of Verbatim. On the other side she has written several books. But most impressive is that she runs two blogs at the same time: A Dress a Day and Dictionary Evangelist.

McKean says "Deciding what words are good and what words are bad is actually not very easy and it's not very fun." In this presentation she offers an image of lexicographers gathering--not regulating; fishing--not directing traffic.* Watch this just to be smothered in analogies.

Polyglot and Mr have commented (over at Mr's blog) on the new trend of PR announcements going out to "lowly linguablogs." Receiving such an email announcement is a little flattering. Just a little. But I too considered letting it slide. I thought Why should I put this up? Surely once Ben Zimmer mentions it on Language Log my contribution is effectively null.

Well nearing null maybe. Almost null. But not null. No. ('nuff nasals?)

So watch the video.

*I was going to write "fishing, not policing" but the parallel structure of that contrast makes for a distracting joke along the lines of "talcum powder is to talc as baby powder is to...?"

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