Arika Okrent, in the blog Mental Floss, has recently written about the use of the family tree figure to explain the historical relations among languages. Along with the brief discussion of the topic, she provides a lovely visual illustration by webcomic artist Minna Sundberg. Okrent calls it an "antidote to the boring linguistic tree diagram." See for yourself here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59665/feast-your-eyes-beautiful-linguistic-family-tree.
The Linguistic Society of America has honored DSNA stalwart Ben Zimmer with its first Linguistic Journalism Award. Zimmer is known for his contributions to North-American media, currently as language columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe (and previously for the New York Times). He has also contributed to The Atlantic, Slate's "Lexicon Valley" blog, and Language Log, and in his spare time he is the executive producer of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus.
Zimmer has also been active as a word maven on National Public Radio, most recently on "Weekend Edition" for October 25, when he spoke about terms used to describe problems with the Affordable Heathcare Act, "Gremlins and Glitches: Lexical Queries after Healthcare.gov," available here.
Pliny once wrote, "Indeed, what is there that does not appear marvellous when it comes to our knowledge for the first time?" On the opinion page of Saturday's New York Times (October 23, 2014), Kory Stamper ponders the apparent novelty of today's slang, only to caution readers to assume that all the cool argot is necessarily newly-minted. She observes, "Everyone knows that slang is informal speech, usually invented by reckless young people, who are ruining proper English. These obnoxious upstart words are vapid and worthless, say the guardians of good usage, and lexicographers like me should be preserving language that has a lineage, well-bred words with wholesome backgrounds, rather than recording the modish vulgarities of street argot."
Pineys, shoobies, bennies, wooder ice, cliff-hanger, egg nog, hot dog, Jersey barrier, jug-handle, shunpike--these are just a few terms coined in New Jersey, according to a recent article by Steve Wood in the south Jersey Courier Post, available here.
Featuring input from DSNA stalwarts Kory Stamper (Merriam-Webster lexicographer and Harmless Drudgery blogger) and Ben Zimmer (executive producer of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus, and Wall Street Journal language columnist), the article should be of interest to anybody with a fascination for regional dialects, isoglosses, word coinage, and New Jersey folkways in general. Perhaps in a follow-up article, Mr. Wood might approach the question why New Jersey is so rich in lexicographers, linguists, word-mavens, and their ilk.
Kory Stamper demonstrates the proper way to eat "water ice" (better known in the South Jersey/Philadelphia region as "wooder ice").
Henry Hexham, A Copious English and Netherdutch Dictionary (1647): 33,000 word-entries.
Lexicons of Early Modern English
LEME is a growing historical database offering scholars unprecedented access to early books and manuscripts documenting the growth and development of the English language. With more than 600,000 word-entries from 184 monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, glossaries, and linguistic treatises, encyclopedic and other lexical works from the beginning of printing in England to 1702, as well as tools updated annually, LEME sets the standard for modern linguistic research on the English language.
Use Modern Techniques to Research Early Modern English!
199 Searchable lexicons
148 Fully analyzed lexicons
664 546 Total word entries
444 971 Fully analyzed word entries
573 423 Total analyzed forms and subforms
444 972 Total analyzed forms
128 451 Total analyzed subforms
60 891 Total English modern headwords
LEME provides exciting opportunities for research for historians of the English language. More than a half-million word-entries devised by contemporary speakers of early modern English describe the meaning of words, and their equivalents in languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other tongues encountered then in Europe, America, and Asia.
In his occasional blog, Netwallah redivivus, Kevin Joel Berland discusses some words and usages in the writing of William Byrd II of Westover, Virginia (1674-1744)--words not yet captured by the OED. For instance, Byrd applies the term "vixon" to any noxious creature, such as the mosquito, and extends "shoal" to "shoaller." See "Some of Byrd's Words."
The Huffington Post has a story on marriage equality activists in San Francisco who are rewriting dictionaries in shops and libraries. HackMarriage members replace the volumes' definitions of marriage with stickers bearing their own entry. You can read the story and watch a video about the project here.
On reflection, I decided this news had to be categorized as "practical lexicography."
Okay, okay, the wire services are loving the news that the Oxford English Dictionary has added or revised the entries for "dad dancing," "tweet," "follow" and "geekery" but I'm impressed by the addition of "the silent treatment." Check out OED's blog on the latest updates (which is also the source of the nifty graphic).