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Of Interest:

Put In Words

We came across a rather lyrical and enthralling article which describes the job of being a lexicographer - one who compiles dictionaries. Written by a working lexicographer, of whom there are few in this world, the article describes the process and the history of this noble and obscure profession.

We are reminded of a story told by the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith at a Harvard luncheon, where he told of his experience testifying before a congressional panel on the economy. A senator, being unfamiliar with a word the Professor had used in his presentation, had an aide look up the word for him. He then addressed the speaker, saying he’d had an aide look up the word ‘febrile,’ and went on to say that Galbraith had used the word incorrectly.

The Professor responded thusly: “Being that I sit on the Usage Committee of the American Heritage Dictionary, I shall have them emend the entry.”

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Word Search

The English language is a vast, wonderful thing. It is, in fact, the language with the largest number of words, and arguably the best documented, with most every word tracked to its sources, etymology and first use in print courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary

We note with pleasure
a new attempt to corral a large number of the words we have in English which have no apparent derivation - ‘orphan’ words, in the field. Prof. Anatoly Liberman at the University of Minnesota has made this effort is life’s work.

He seeks to account for words we use every day, but which have no apparent source or discernible etymology. Words like frog, boy, girl, oat, dwarf or heifer seem to have shown up out of nowhere, and while getting a first date of use for many of these will be easy, sorting out their backstory seems nigh on impossible to us.

Brave lexicographer, credit to linguists everywhere...
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BBC on LOL in OED

In the wake of the recent announcement that the Oxford English DIctionary will be including ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ in the future editions, an article on the BBC News web site takes a look at some aspects of ‘txt.’ The article makes some interesting observations on language chance, written vs. spoken language, etymology, and other things that float our boat around here. The comments on the article are just as interesting. We particularly enjoyed the sidebar on non-English variations on the theme:

LOL around the world

mdr (and derivatives)
French version, from the initials of "mort de rire" which roughly translated means "dying of laughter"

חחח‎/ההה
Hebrew version. The letter
ח is pronounced 'kh' and ה is pronounced 'h'. Putting them together makes "khakhakha"

555
Thai variation of LOL. "5" in Thai is pronounced "ha", three of them being "hahaha"

asg
Swedish abbreviation of the term Asgarv, meaning intense laughter

mkm
Afghan abbreviation of the Dari phrase "ma khanda mikonom", which means "I am laughing"

(Source:
Know Your Meme)

Moral of the story: be sure to know the colloquialisms of the target market you are aiming for, in terms of both geography and language, or your product name could have people ROFL[T]AO. Nomenon’s Native Speaker Language Checks can ensure that no one giggles at your big overseas launch.
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