ARL Archive · Reference News Roundup

Reference News Roundup (Vol. 5)

newspaper-peepsGreetings Papercutters!

It’s Friday … and I’ve got my proverbial shit together, so you know what that means: it’s time for another installment of the Reference News Roundup!

Once again, I’ve corralled the latest word, dictionary, and reference-related news and put it all together so you don’t have to go looking for it! I know, that might not sound like much, but I’ve been drinking, so pulling this together was a bit tougher than usual!

But hey, you don’t want to hear about me, so let’s get right to it, shall we? As usual, I’ll kick things off with my news item of the week.

Thanks for reading!

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NEWS ITEM OF THE WEEK:

This one isn’t really about words, dictionaries, or references, but it’s super awesome, which is why I’ve given it top billing. Dig it.

Night time word vigilante goes out in dead of night to correct signs with rogue apostrophes

By day the he is a highly-qualified professional with his secret known only to a handful of close family and friends.

But at night he becomes a shadowy figure who patrols the streets of Bristol, armed with his homemade ‘apostrophiser’ and purpose-built trestle.

His specially-made tool reaches the higher signs on shopfronts and road signs, replacing or covering rogue apostrophes wherever he sees them.

WORDS:

Trump says he has the ‘best words.’ Merriam-Webster disagrees (Op-Ed)

Words, like facts, have absolute meanings and spellings, despite Trump’s efforts to revise both.

Meet the Woman Behind Merriam-Webster’s Viral Twitter Account

After Ivanka Trump told CBS’ Gayle King that she didn’t know “what it means to be complicit,” Merriam-Webster took up the case.

How did the word “liberal” become a political insult? (UK)

Liberal is becoming a political insult. Used in such a fashion, it has little or no determinate meaning. Instead, it denotes that the liberal in question is wealthy and, precisely because he or she is doing well, out of touch with people who are not. It’s a stupid usage, and it is time to speak for liberal Britain, or at least to ask who can do so.

DICTIONARY ADDITIONS:

I’m just going to say it: the addition of these stupid, trendy words smacks of desperation and I wish dictionaries, whether in print or online, would cut it out. I mean, “hangry”? Who the fuck will be saying that in five years? Make it stop.

Weed Rules At Dictionary.com: 420, ‘Dabbing’ And ‘Kush’ All Included

Hangry, struggle bus and smackdown among 300 “new” words

LANGUAGE & USAGE:

You can now spell ‘Earthling’ with a capital ‘E,’ and here’s why

Hear ye, hear ye! From this point forth, and for the rest of time, it shall be permissible to spell the word “Earthling” with a capital “E” — just so long as you are judicious about it and don’t overuse the term as a synonym for humans, okay?

This ruling comes to you via The Washington Post copy desk and the fine folks at the Merriam-Webster dictionary after a spelling debate that called into question the dignity of humanity itself.

Universities are telling students to use “gender-neutral” language or be penalized

Universities are telling students that they should use “gender-neutral” language in their essays, or risk being marked down.

[Editorial remark: I am sensitive to and a user of non-sexist language, but this is ridiculous. Here’s to hoping this is “fake news.”]

DICTIONARIES OF ….

Merriam-Webster editor on her new book — and why dictionaries matter

” A dictionary is a living record of a living language, and they’re important because language is important to us.”

‘It’s part of what makes people Canadian’: Updated dictionary compiles ‘Canadianisms’

An updated dictionary provides a fascinating look at words and expressions distinctively Canadian, with entries from “all-dressed” to “zed.”

Beloved lexicon for wordsmiths

Dictionaries are not closed archives but ceaseless endeavours; mere fractions of an impossible whole. They are “glorious gallimaufries”, observes the writer Robert Macfarlane in his own comprehensive glossary of place-words, immediately driving us all back to our dictionaries to discern his meaning.

A Modern Dictionary Of London Terms

“London changes so fast, [the writers of this piece] decided it was time to create a dictionary of contemporary words and phrases.”

[Editorial remark: It’s basically a list of terms snarkily defined. Think The Devil’s Dictionary, but not as clever.]

A Visual Dictionary for Sign Language

Although American Sign Language, used by 250,000 people in the United States, is widely recognized as a rich, complex language, ASL learners and researchers have never enjoyed the kind of large, comprehensive database available in other languages—until now.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS:

Clark Professor’s Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies Named Best Reference Title

The text includes over 400 signed entries by top researchers and clinicians from the fields of psychology, sociology, human development and gender/queer studies and offers an appendix with information on organizations, journals and websites related to various topics within the larger field of LGBTQ studies. It was designed for undergraduate students, graduate students, scholars of LGBTQ sexualities and lives, and others.

New Pa. German encyclopedia includes the devil even

This is a comprehensive study of Pennsylvania German history, geography, culture, society, the arts and anything else that relates to the unique people — plain and fancier — who live in or have migrated from central Pennsylvania.

Remembering encyclopedias

“I bought an Encyclopedia Britannica so my kids could do all their school research at home. It came with its own bookcase. It was classy. I felt smart.”

[Editorial remark: I don’t thing this guy was really into encyclopedias at all….]

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ARL Archive · Reference News Roundup

Reference News Roundup (Vol.4)

newspaper-peepsHello Papercutters! It’s time once again for a Reference News Roundup (RNR) courtesy of your friends at the Anachronist Reference Library.

Before we get started, let me say:

1. Thanks for reading and, if you dig this kind of thing, follow the blog and share this with your friends.
2. You can also follow me on Twitter @Joe3atARL.
3. Finally, should you feel inclined, drop me a line if you want to comment on or chat about any of the issues raised here.

Alright, let’s get right to it, shall we? As usual, I’ll start with this episode’s …

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NEWS ITEM OF THE WEEK:

The Secret Life of Dictionaries is a bittersweet look at the disappearing reference book
Kory Stamper’s narrative of life as an editor at Merriam-Webster – “America’s oldest dictionary company” – is consistently wry and amusing, but a sadness persists in the telling. It is the sadness of good things doomed to disappear. The good thing in this case is the hefty, one-volume print dictionary with nearly every phrase and sentence the product of pure verbal craftsmanship.

Editor’s Note: Enough with the learned helplessness of the Digital Age. Things like dictionaries will only disappear if we let them. If you like having a dictionary around, go out and buy one.

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ON DICTIONARIES AND LANGUAGE

Here’s Why “On Fleek” Isn’t in the Dictionary, Yet (Interview)
In her new book, Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, Kory Stamper spins various adventures in lexicography with exuberance and wit to spare. Unlike what you might think about the dictionary, Stamper is out to prove language and word usage don’t have to be super-rigid. You can use “literally” in all kinds of ways, and there are many plural of octopus.

Connections: New words added to the dictionary, and how language evolves
Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Dictionaries have added more than 1,000 new words to their databases. Some of the words, like “microagression” and “safe space” have been used for years, but have gained enough popularity to be added now. Other words and phrases, like “humblebrag” and “face-palm” are raising questions because they seem trendy and like slang.

English language ‘organised’ itself for centuries: study
The English language has effectively organised itself for centuries, even without any kind of oversight or control from an official body, according to a new study.

What’s a bunnyhug? The new edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms
Do you know what a “bunnyhug” is? How about the Big-O? They’re just a couple of Canadianisms – words with their own specific meaning in Canada, and both found in the soon to be released second edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms.

Washington Post and Jigsaw launch a collaborative pop-up dictionary of security jargon
Information security’s biggest obstacle isn’t the mere insecurity of so many of our tools and services: it’s the widespread lack of general knowledge about fundamental security concepts, which allows scammers to trick people into turning off or ignoring security red flags. Explaining these concepts isn’t easy, but it can be done. To that end, Jigsaw — Google’s online safety division — and the Washington Post are creating a collaborative, visual pop-up dictionary that explains difficult security concepts with analogies, metaphors and images.

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ON ENCYCLOPEDIAS

Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail
An investigation by this paper has revealed how Wikipedia banned the Daily Mail as a source after just 53 out of its 30 million editors voted to do so.

China’s ‘biggest online encyclopedia’ apologizes for selling fake entries on its open platform
Hudong Baike has apologized for allowing fake content to be posted on its online encyclopedia platform. The apology followed an exposé by state broadcaster CCTV.

Editor’s Note: Are you sensing a trend with online references? I am. User beware.

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia On African Art Is In The Works
Writer and art historian, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim is taking on the enormous task of cataloguing art history from the continent.

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ON WORDS

What Does ‘Complicit’ Mean? SNL Skit Makes Word Most Popular Search On Merriam-Webster, Dictionary Says
Ivanka Trump’s eponymous perfume is a top-seller on Amazon.com, but “Saturday Night Live” gave her a new eau de parfum—and its name was Merriam-Webster’s most-searched word Sunday.

After two years —and three dictionaries — Florida court defines ‘sexual intercourse’
It took two years and three dictionaries, but the Florida Supreme Court finally determined Thursday that “sexual intercourse” isn’t just between a man and a woman.

13 words that no one uses anymore
Language expert Robbie Love, from Lancaster University, compiled the most popular words from the 1990s which have since declined the most drastically and the top words — not around in the in the 1990s — which are hugely popular today.

Capturing “Take” for the Dictionary
A Merriam-Webster editor’s knock-down, drag-out battle to define a deceptively small, innocent word.

‘Done and Done’
I texted my wife the other day asking whether she had walked the dog. She answered, “Done and done.” I was like, “Wait — what and what??”

Ed. Note: I say this all the time. What’s the big deal?

And the winner of best swear word is…
An analysis of more than 500,000 online product reviews found that [Britons use] this curse word more frequently than any other when giving negative feedback.

In a Word . . . Bell
Now there’s an intriguing word: campanology.

Editor’s Note: this article gives St. Patrick a passing mention. If you haven’t seen it, the ARL put up a post about this snake-driver on his feast day. Check it out.

Where the word ‘shroff’ came from, and its many meanings
Money changer, silver expert, customs officer, court money collector, cashier’s office – a word originally borrowed by English from India, which coined it from Arabic, has meant different things down the years.

The Secret Code Word for When the Queen Dies Has Been Revealed
When the Queen dies a exhaustive plan of how the nation will be told and what happens in following days and hours will swing into action. It includes a special code word for the Queen and a highly detailed plan with everything from her undertakers name to the number of pall bearers and the length of gunfire salute in her honor.

Is ‘hell’ a curse word?
Is ‘hell’ a curse word? Teens face the wrath of angry parents as they take part in ‘Hell Challenge’, asking their moms and dads if the word is profane, provoking some furious responses.

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Well, that’s it for this Reference News Roundup. To see past installments, visit the following:

RNR – Volume 1          RNR – Volume 2          RNR – Volume 3

 

 

ARL Archive · Reference News Roundup

Reference News Roundup (Vol. 3)

Greetings Papercutters! It’s Friday, and you know what that means … Beer and heavy metal! Well, maybe … if that’s what you’re into. Whatever you drink and  listen to, Friday is Reference News Roundup Day, so here is you weekly dose of wordy news to keep your brain busy … while you try to kill it with alcohol and loud music!

party

Anyhoo…. I know I let this slip last week, but I was redoing my kitchen, so cut me some slack (it was a lot of work!). Hopefully, I’ve made up for my substandard performance with this week’s installment, which contains a bunch of great stuff, including my “News Item of the Week.”

So with no further adieu, here is this week’s installment of The Papercut’s Reference News Roundup.

Thanks for reading and, if you dig this kind of thing, follow the blog, follow me on Twitter @Joe3atARL, and tell share this with your friends. Also, should you feel inclined, drop me a line if you want to comment on or chat about anything here.

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News Item of the Week:

Why Are They ‘Stars’?
The Atlantic.com

“It makes so much sense to refer to certain kinds of celebrities as ‘stars.’ At their heights, those people inspire the rest of us. They shine, larger than life, above us, and around us…. But: Why are they ‘stars,’ specifically? Why is Hollywood’s Walk of Fame populated by pentagrams of pale pink, rather than some other arbitrary shape?”

Holy F–K, if this doesn’t sound like something I write for this blog, then I don’t know what does. Maybe I’ve been cloned without my knowledge….

I. News

Merriam-Webster Tweet Corrects Conway’s Definition of Feminism
NBC News.com

“Everyone in political life can expect to encounter criticism, perhaps especially on Twitter.

“But when you wind up getting repeatedly publicly corrected by one of America’s most respected dictionaries, that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

“Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President Donald Trump, knows how that feels … [Yeah because she keeps using words incorrectly – Ed.]”

Next to the country training eagles to take drones out of the air, the stories about Merriam-Webster’s continued “trolling” of the TrumpNuts brings me immense joy. Here’s a recap of just a handful of them. Note how much play this is getting from media sources around the globe.

How Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is trolling the Trump administration
News.com.au

Trump’s most erudite troll is the Merriam-Webster dictionary
Scmp.com

Team Trump’s greatest enemy on Twitter? A dictionary
Sacbee.com

Dictionary Merriam-Webster has totally schooled Kellyanne Conway on the definition of feminism
Bt.com

II. New Dictionary Entries

Oxford Dictionary Proves It’s Totally With It By Adding ‘Squad Goals,’ ‘Yas’ and ‘Drunk Text’
Time.com

Oxford Dictionaries adds ‘yas,’ ‘squad goals,’ ‘cat lady’
UPI.com

#SquadGoals Is Now In The Dictionary
Lifestyle.one

Clicktivism and fitspiration among 300 new words in online Oxford dictionary
Oxfordtimes.co.uk

III. Of (Possible) Interest:

Study: Bot-on-Bot Editing Wars Raging on Wikipedia’s pages
Sci-tech-today.com

“Beneath the surface of Wikipedia lies a murky world of enduring conflict. A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years…. The more the bots (aka: software robots) came into contact with one another, the more they became locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing the links they had added to other pages.

Another reason why electronic references are suspect ….

New Financial Terms Dictionary Offers Article Style Description
Pressreleaserocket.net [WARNING: This is a press release!]

My Word: Sheila
Northerndailyleader.com.au/

Hawaiian Word of the Day: Ki’pu’upu’u
Hawaiinewsnow.com

The Finnish word “kalsarikannit” gives new life to your routine weekend plans
Mic.com