Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

Save the Words Update

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I am extasiated to be able to tell you that the Save the Words site is once again active. It disappeared for a while there, rendering us all nequient in our quest to save perantique and interesting words from fading away. Now that this utible site was returned from its latibule, get out there and start saving those words!

Don’t be an historiaster!

Saturday, January 31st, 2009 is the proud new daddy of a very old word. Today I welcomed “historiaster” to the family, adopting it as part of an Oxford University Press campaign to Save the Words.

Every year lexicographers (the folks who study words and who compile dictionaries) make decisions about what words to include in dictionaries and what words to drop from dictionaries. In part this is based upon use. If a word is in common use, it will remain in the dictionary. If it falls from use, it may be dropped. Once a word has been dropped form the dictionary, it will become even more obscure in daily use, and eventually it will effectively cease to be a part of our language at all.

This is a sad state of affairs as words matter. Every word brings with it its own capsule of meaning, context, and nuance. As we lose words, we lose these meanings, we are unable to perfectly fit vocabulary to context, and we are unable to express ourselves in as subtle, nuanced and precise a manner as we might like.

This is where Save the Words comes in. By encouraging people to adopt an endangered word, making a commitment to use it as often as possible in their daily lives, they hope to keep the word in use, preventing its ultimate disappearance from the dictionary. And so has adopted “historiaster”. I will be working on a new mission statement that will include it, and of course I will use it as often as possible here on the blog and in my daily life. So please remember when you are reading these pages: pay attention to your language, and do not be an historiaster!

(historiaster = “contemptible historian”)

Save the Words [via Lifehacker]

historiaster: certificate of adoption

historiaster: certificate of adoption