Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dictionaries

"The dictionary of the future, it seems safe to predict, will function as a continual online touching-up of the linguistic portrait, rather than something entombed between hard covers every decade or so."

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/jul/02/artsandhumanities.highereducation

Reading about all of the new words that the on-line dictionaries are adding quarterly, from slang to text acronyms, I wonder if we are losing the majesty of language.  Including every single communication short-cut may not be to our advantage.  Lowering our language to the lowest common denominator just doesn't seem right.  Because everyone says a word or phrase, does not make it correct.

Or is being "correct" out of date?  Oh my, is my generational thinking rearing it's ageing head again?  I can text OMG, LOL, and IMHO with the best of them.  But I really don't want them listed in the Oxford English Dictionary for posterity.  Slang, by it's very nature, is constantly changing.  By the time it makes it into the dictionary, isn't it, by definition (pun intended), almost obsolete?  

I would prefer to keep our dictionaries to a higher standard than colloquial slang and text abbreviations. My dinosaur mind-set would maintain that the option of having a dictionary for correct and proper words is far superior to inclusive tomes that record the mercurial jargon of the immediate day.


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