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07-29-2019, 02:45 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
I gave up on dictionaries when 'Uninterested' and 'Disinterested' were defined in the same way.
Bemuse and Amuse still don't have the same definition, but that doesn't stop people from using them as synonyms. I imagine in another 10 years they will have the same definition in some dictionary.

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Obviously not. Shakespeare would have laughed at you, he spelt his name seven ways, no objectively right answer there, just an arbitrary one.

You spell 'traveling' because Webster set about simplifying the existing 'travelling'. Who's objectively right according to your belief?

An Englishman from Somerset sounds nothing like a Scotsman from Orkney in conversation, and neither talk like the classic BBC newsreader.

Language adapts to trends, and because it isn't so codified is one reason it has become the new lingua franca, it's super flexible, as the old lingua franca became rigid (French newspapers could be fined at one point for using borrowed English terms instead of Academie approved ones).

The cost is complexity and lack of consistency, the bonus is it's very rich. The Polish author Joseph Conrad voted with his pen, choosing to write his poetry in French for the sound and his novels in English for all the synonyms/vocab with their shades of grey.
Consistent spelling does help a lot when it comes to speed of reading. A book like Pilgrim's Progress is really difficult to wade through if the spelling isn't cleaned up a bit, because John Bunyan's spelling was ify, even for his day.

My guess is that these days spell checkers do far more than dictionaries to standardize spelling.

07-29-2019, 04:20 AM - 2 Likes   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Consistent spelling does help a lot when it comes to speed of reading. A book like Pilgrim's Progress is really difficult to wade through if the spelling isn't cleaned up a bit, because John Bunyan's spelling was ify, even for his day.
Sure, that's 1678, Samuel Johnson's early dictionary is 1755, Webster's 1806, Oxford 1884, along with all the lag needed for enough literate people to 'buy in' to their idea, and all with their own ideologies, so we need to get rid of the notion of them being objective collations.

You could write essays on how Johnson's is dominated by his relatively poor understanding of Latin and Greek, Webster's had an agenda of reforming spelling, the Oxford hampered by the social backgrounds of its contributors, you get three different products.

Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don't, they're certainly not objective or definitive!

Last edited by clackers; 07-29-2019 at 06:36 AM.
07-29-2019, 04:58 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
"Irregardless....."

My complaint here wasn't so much about spelling as the loss of meaning through the blurring of distinctions in denotative definitions; my first post in the other thread was made, at least in part, as a feeble attempt at humor (or "humour").
Sure, but descriptive versus prescriptive has to do with a variety of things -- spelling, definition, etc.
07-29-2019, 06:46 AM   #19
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https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/the-battle-over-scrabbles-dictionaries/amp



07-29-2019, 10:51 AM   #20
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When I was a kid in school (elementary/ secondary) in Canada, I learned to spell words using the British version vs the American version. I was also taught units of measurement using the British Imperial System.

But back to the words. From what I recall from so many years ago...mostly British and American takes on spelling are the same, but there are some British spelling version, words that have a 'u' in them, that you don't find in the same word spelled the American way. In the schools I attended, we were also taught to go by the Oxford English Dictionary, not American dictionaries for the final word on spelling a word.

I completed my elementary and secondary school education well over half a century ago, so I really don't know currently, what is taught in modern Canadian schools regarding spelling, etc.

I do recall that when I was learning to write, we used simple fountain pens that we dipped in an inkwell, which was fitted in our school desks.
07-29-2019, 01:18 PM   #21
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My mother gauged the authority of a dictionary by its dimensions and weight and whether it said Webster's on the front. She had a mid-1960s copy with embossed leather cover that measured about 16x24x8" and weighed about fifteen pounds. It was everyone's dreaded moment when she would disappear into the other room during a game of Scrabble to return several minutes later lugging that dictionary to prove a point of spelling or "whether something is a word". Great show was made of the opening (performed standing) and searching of the sacred trove. Mom was not great at Scrabble, as one might guess.


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07-29-2019, 02:56 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I do recall that when I was learning to write, we used simple fountain pens that we dipped in an inkwell, which was fitted in our school desks.
My dictionary suggests a fountain pen has its own ink bladder.

Inkwells were a great source of fun for little boys with an eye on the plaits worn by a girl sitting in front of them.
07-29-2019, 04:40 PM - 1 Like   #23
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I refuse to look in a dictionary since they took the word gullible out!


If you want a phonetic language, You should investigate Korean!


Last edited by SSGGeezer; 07-30-2019 at 08:36 AM. Reason: spelling
07-29-2019, 04:49 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
My dictionary suggests a fountain pen has its own ink bladder.
That being the difference between it and a steel nib dip pen.


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07-29-2019, 04:55 PM - 2 Likes   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
My complaint here wasn't so much about spelling as the loss of meaning through the blurring of distinctions in denotative definitions
The definitions aim to described usage. You can argue about how well they do that. But if that's the aim, descriptions of use must include descriptions of misuse, at least when it becomes common enough. Over time, some misuse dies out and some becomes standard. That tendency has been complained about for 500 years.

A contemporary review of Bleak House is one written in the 1850s. But once enough people use "contemporary" to mean recent or modern, doesn't that usage need to be recorded, to inform the reader that a reference to a contemporary review of Bleak House might be intended to mean one published last week?

Last edited by Des; 07-29-2019 at 05:24 PM.
07-29-2019, 05:15 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That being the difference between it and a steel nib dip pen.
Steve
I still have examples of both, somewhere. I used to enjoy using a fountain pen, not only for handwriting, but also for illustrations when I was making my own for teaching engineering. My Apple Pencil replicates some of its versatility, but without the chance of spillage.
07-30-2019, 04:11 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
The definitions aim to described usage. You can argue about how well they do that. But if that's the aim, descriptions of use must include descriptions of misuse, at least when it becomes common enough. Over time, some misuse dies out and some becomes standard. That tendency has been complained about for 500 years.

A contemporary review of Bleak House is one written in the 1850s. But once enough people use "contemporary" to mean recent or modern, doesn't that usage need to be recorded, to inform the reader that a reference to a contemporary review of Bleak House might be intended to mean one published last week?
I agree completely, though authoritative dictionaries would designate such secondary usage as "cant", "technical", "jargon", etc., and "descriptive" dictionaries don't make such "judgments".
07-30-2019, 04:47 AM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
I refuse to look in a dictionary since they too the word gullible out!
(Laughs)



07-30-2019, 09:10 AM - 2 Likes   #29
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These threads about “proper” language can certainly be entertaining! Need some popcorn while reading them...
07-30-2019, 10:40 AM - 4 Likes   #30
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Maria Montessori referred to language as having Domains.

In Scientific and Legal language domains words are precise and descriptive. Words have specific meanings, but the language requires education and knowledge. Meanings are expressed externally. The language is jargon. Therefore Science and Law are expensive, but also dry and emotionless.

Emotional language - the everyday social language we use to communicate - is imprecise and evocative. Meanings are expressed internally and can be particular to the individual. Social language is language of the heart. Emotional language is free, and rewarding of itself.

Last is Artistic language, which is nearly entirely expressive and individual. We as photograpers all should appreciate the meaning of that definition, but ill likely never agree on the meaning of the language.

Doctors and Lawyers make money because the language in their Domain is expensive. Money is the reward for using their language. Teachers and Ministers aren’t rewarded by money - they are rewarded socially, by teaching or leading people.

Artists often starve for their language because the language -the art - itself is the reward

The problem is individual words cross boundaries of Domains. They don’t have universal meaning across all contexts of their uses. Rather, their meanings are defined by the Domains in which words are used. We can never assume the speaker and listener are in the same language Domain, nor (in the Social Domain) how the speaker and listener define the meanings of the words.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-31-2019 at 04:11 PM.
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