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"Another Review of The Life of Words" (07-20-2022) [link]
In the July 2022 issue of Modern Language Review, a short review by Mia Gaudern. Gaudern is the author of the very good The Etymological Poetry of W. H. Auden, J. H. Prynne, and Paul Muldoon (OUP, 2020), published virtually at the same time by the ..
tagged: corpora, digital humanities, etymology, Oxford English Dictionary
"Two reviews of The Life of Words" (02-25-2022) [link]
It has been almost two years since I published The Life of Words: Etymology and Modern Poetry, and even longer since I stopped working on it. A couple of reviews have come out, one just the other day. They're by Barry Wallenstein (in Choice) and ..
tagged: Barry Wallenstein, Life of Words Etymology and Modern Poetry, reviewery, reviews, Stephanie Burt
"Christmas Dinner" (12-28-2021) [link]
O, how I have complained over "DINNER" in the Oxford English Dictionary [see "Oxford English Dinner"]. The close of 2021 brought an early Christmas surprise: a new, fully revised entry. And it's not just any revision, but one of those with an ..
tagged: lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Nae Mair for the Nonce?" (12-11-2021) [link]
Growlsome, guzzledom, panfrivolium - Oxford English Dictionary #OED doing away with "nonce-words" | Nae Mair for the Nonce? | The Life of Words ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, variorum
"MS Preprint: Women Authors in OED" (07-13-2021) [link]
A sneak peek at an MS now under peer review on female authorship among the OED citational corpus in different editions. If challenged for a password, enter the last name of the general editor of the second supplement to the OED. Comments ..
tagged:
"OED "Transgender" Update Update" (03-24-2021) [link]
In my last post ["Why we need a Variorum OED: 'Transgender' " 9/12/2020], I pointed to the OED entry for TRANSGENDER as it appeared in December 2020 as a good example of the need for a Variorum OED, which would label all elements (etymologies, ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, Oxford English Dictionary
"Why We Need a Variorum OED: "Transgender"" (12-09-2020) [link]
The need for a Variorum--i.e. a detailed revision history for every published element of the OED since 1884--is becoming even more acute. ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Published: "Alien" vs. Editor: "World English" in the OED 1884-2020" (09-07-2020) [link]
This article discusses the changing ways in which the Oxford English Dictionary has recorded the vocabularies of ‘World English’ from the beginnings to the present day. ..
tagged: antedating, corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield
"Seamus Heaney on Dictionaries" (08-18-2020) [link]
In the summer of 2012 Seamus Heaney wrote to me on some questions I had sent him about dictionaries and words and etymologies. Bits of what he had to say made it into a couple of talks I did around that time, but I recently rediscovered the original ..
tagged: dictionaries, etymology, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Seamus Heaney
"From "Awesomesauce" to "Unlike, v.": Twitter and the OED" (08-04-2020) [link]
Twitter is emerging as a major source of quotation evidence for the Oxford English Dictionary. In the revisions and additions made to OED3 in 2018, it was the seventh most cited source. In 2019, it was the second most cited source, with 501 ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, gender, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, twitter
"A Variorum OED" (07-13-2020) [link]
The Oxford English Dictionary is a notoriously patchy text, having been written and re-written over a span of 130 years or so. In a recent post I put together a graphic representation of this, coloring bits from different editions, additional series ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Fulsome Recovery" (06-16-2020) [link]
The 1989 Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will tell you that you're wrong if your think fulsome means the same as full. If you give a 'fulsome answer' to some question (as I've noticed many people do), it will tell you that your ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
""Covid-19", and other swiftly documented words in the OED" (06-07-2020) [link]
The OED documented the verb to Google in a 2006 update, eight years after the first occurrence of this sense in print (1998, in eGroups, an old mailing list). Happy slap and derivatives also took eight years to get in, appearing in 2013. ..
tagged: dictionaries, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"LOWBot Goes a(n)-Antedating" (05-16-2020) [link]
In an earlier post, OED Antedating OED, I documented how OED3's rate of antedating had improved dramatically since the revision kicked off in 2000, from around 35-40% of word entries antedated in the first five or six years of updates, to above 60% ..
tagged: antedating, corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"New Map of Indigenous American Words in English" (03-21-2020) [link]
For some time I've been meaning to update my map of pathways into English of  Indigenous American Words, which was based on the Second (1989) Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. With a couple of hours to spare while watching the kids this ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"And we have Coverage!" (02-17-2020) [link]
Here's the cover of my new book, out in April/May from OUP: [edit: now available at book stores and here]Image credit: "Iskandar and the Talking Tree", from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh (977-1010 CE), Bodleian MS. Ouseley Add.176, fol. ..
tagged: Anne Carson, Ciaran Carson, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, Geoffrey Hill, Isidore of Seville, J. H. Prynne, James Joyce, Jan Zwicky, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Paul Muldoon, R. F. Langley, Seamus Heaney, Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot
"More Precisions on Revisions" (01-15-2020) [link]
In the comments to my last post [OED3 Revision Revised for 2020] I posted this chart, in reply to a remark about projected completion: This implies that revision has slowed down somewhat in the last ten years, and even more in the last five. But ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"OED3 Revision, Revised for 2020" (12-19-2019) [link]
In my previous post [OED3’s Revision Status (c. 2018.12.15)] I took a bird's eye view of when various parts of the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED3) were added, and when revised (if they've been revised). I came up with a figure that at the ..
tagged: dictionaries, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"OED3's Revision Status (c. 2018.12.15)" (12-02-2019) [link]
Most people know that the OED is in the midst of a wholesale revision of legacy OED material dating back in some cases to the 1890s, in addition to the regular updates and additions we hear about in quarterly bulletins. This work started to be ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Posting Over at the OED Blog" (10-12-2019) [link]
I've written a post for the OED blog, digging into OED data on regional varieties of English: "When Regional Englishes Got Their Words". Check it out! -- there I plot the number and date of all OED first citations pertaining to senses typical of ..
tagged:
"OED Antedating OED" (07-25-2019) [link]
In 6 years, OED went from a 40% to a 60% antedating rate, a remarkable improvement.You want to know what the biggest antedating has been so far, don't you? Well, I'll tell you. ..
tagged: antedating, digital humanities, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
""Bastard" goes legit! (and has some babies of its own)" (06-20-2019) [link]
The June 2019 update to OED3 has many lovely lexicographical additions: the first three listed are 'ayuh', 'bae', and 'ball sack' (if that gives any indication). Twitterati have commented on 'upper-class twit' and 'you (wee) dancer'. But what ..
tagged: etymology, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Boathouse Words" (09-10-2018) [link]
Q: What's the difference between having a SQUIRREL FACE and having a FACE SQUIRREL? A:                      Generally speaking, if you want a word for a MORP that has FUZ, you call it a FUZ-MORP, right? And if there's a FUZ that gets rid of ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Insinuendo: OED's Opinions" (07-16-2018) [link]
The Oxford English Dictionary is rightly regarded as a dispassionate authority on English words, recording without fear or favour as many of those little beasts as it can. But OED editors have not always been above a bit of prescriptive snark. Here ..
tagged: lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield
"Gender Shifts in American Names" (04-24-2018) [link]
Lately I've been working with several different gender-inference tools, tweaking them here and there to serve my purposes. Since I'm working with a historical dataset with about eight million records, from 1800 to today, once of the packages I'm ..
tagged: digital humanities, gender, HathiTrust
"Paul Muldoon's Soundprint" (04-09-2018) [link]
Paul Muldoon's virtuosity with rhyme is often commented upon by critics ("virtuosity" is a frequent epithet where his rhymes are concerned, as are "bravura", and "high-wire act"). One grand old man once wittily remarked that Muldoon could rhyme ..
tagged: Paul Muldoon, poetry, rhyme
"Poetry Competition 2018" (03-13-2018) [link]
April is coming! And that means poetry is on the way... Now in its third year, The Life of Words hosts an annual poetry competition, open to all high school students in Ontario. Last year’s theme was “write a poem about language.” This year ..
tagged: poetry
""Juvescence" and other poetical "Errors"" (01-29-2018) [link]
This morning on the Twitter came this from @nemoloris: OED says "juvescence" is "irregular", not "erroneous", but (notorious TSE fan) Robert Burchfield himself called it a malformation (in his Eliot memorial lectures, I believe). Eliot's ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield, T. S. Eliot, Wordsworth
"Englishing Non-European Words" (01-26-2018) [link]
My last post focussed on words that are formed within English from other English words with non-English origins. I mostly concentrated on European donor languages, because they make up the overwhelming majority, and show the most variation. But ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"The What and When of English's Englishing" (01-26-2018) [link]
In my previous post, I used OED3's etymologies to chart the languages that gave English its words, noting that most English words come from other English words.  I then dug deep into all the non-English sources of English. Today I'll take a closer ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"European and Non-European English Etymons" (01-22-2018) [link]
This weekend I've been poking around in OED3's etymologies, and it occurred to me that an interesting thing might be lay out all English words according to when they are first attested, and what language they come from. This morning I made a bunch ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield
"Lurking Impactfuls" (10-15-2017) [link]
Today on the NPR I heard someone say, "even more impactfully" [link].  Knowing that anything to do with "impact" is peever-bait [of the "only teeth can be impacted" variety--see BBC Magazine: "Should "impact" ever be used as a verb?"], I was ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"The Lifespan of Words (three ways)" (08-09-2017) [link]
Getting ready for DH2017 this morning, I found myself curious about the lifespan of English words--when they come into the language and when they fall out. So I got all the earliest and latest attestation dates for all the words in OED3, and plotted ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Guest Post: Don't go breaking (up) my genre: visualizing genre against attributes" (05-25-2017) [link]
Danielle Griffin is a research assistant on her third co-op term at The Life of Words. This is the first of a few posts based on her last work-term report,"Comparative Data Visualizations of Textual Features in the OED and the Life of Words Genre ..
tagged: digital humanities, genre, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"How Indigenous American words came into English" (05-05-2017) [link]
I've been deep in the OED documentation of borrowings and loanwords for my look at "tramlines" [see my previous post, and look out for a few more to come] and OED's treatment of foreign, about to be naturalized, and naturalized words. I got ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, World English
"||-Tripping over tramlines-||" (05-03-2017) [link]
"Tramlines", icydk, are those upright parallel bars that OED1 and OED2 editors used to indicate that a word was "alien or not fully naturalized". So, for instance, zeitgeist you may recognize as a word of German origin, not infrequently heard in ..
tagged: C. T. Onions, dictionaries, digital humanities, James Murray, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield, tramlines, World Englishes
"Guest Post: Cataloguing the Catalogue" (05-02-2017) [link]
Cosmin Dszurdsza is a research assistant at The Life of Words. In my last guest post I discussed problematic magazine classifications. Now, once again, a periodical publication proves to be an exciting and difficult genre identification ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, genre, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Three conferences this summer" (03-18-2017) [link]
After a baby-related travelling hiatus of a couple three years, TLOW is hitting the road this summer, with stops at Ryerson University in Toronto (just barely down the road, really) at the end of May, for the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, Oxford English Dictionary
"One last round with metadata from Hathi and Underwood" (03-15-2017) [link]
In "Hathi's Automatic Genre Classifier" and "Hathi Genre Again - Zero Recall", I ran a couple of experiments comparing genre categories assigned by human taggers working on the Life of Words OED mark-up project to two sources of genre metadata ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, genre, HathiTrust, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Shakespeare's Earliest Citations in the OED" (03-06-2017) [link]
No author's representation in the OED has received more comment than Shakespeare's: if you ever come across a mention of OED citation evidence, more than likely it's being used to substantiate (sometimes challenge or qualify) a claim that ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare
"OED Subject Matter" (02-06-2017) [link]
In my last post I described using HathiTrust's Solr Proxy API to fetch Hathi genre metadata for OED quotations. But genre is not the only metadata that Hathi sends back down the intertubes when I ask it a question. For most works, I also get a ..
tagged: corpora, digital humanities, genre, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Hathi Genre Again - Zero Recall" (02-06-2017) [link]
In "Hathi's Automatic Genre Classifier" [17.01.06] I compared the consolidated automatic genre metadata for a subset of HathiTrust Digital Library texts (available here) to the genre classifications arrived at for human-inspected works as part of ..
tagged: corpora, genre, HathiTrust, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Guest Post: Magazines and the Dentist Test" (02-03-2017) [link]
Cosmin Dzsurdzsa is a research assistant working on identifying the textual genre of quotations in the OED. Here he writes the first in a series of posts on borderline and difficult genre determinations. Filtering quotation blocks is essential ..
tagged: genre, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Hathi's Automatic Genre Classifier" (01-06-2017) [link]
The HathiTrust Digital Library is a massive collection of digital books: As of 2017, it contains 5 billion pages from 15 million volumes (7 million titles). About 40% of these are public-domain works, meaning anyone can search and read them. Some of ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, genre, HathiTrust, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"OED Gender Genre" (12-08-2016) [link]
In "Sex in the OED" I  ran through some figures on female vs male representation in OED quotation evidence, comparing the original OED1 with the later Supplements that resulted in OED2. Here I look a little closer at what kinds of works by women the ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, gender, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield
"Burchfield's Reach-Backs" (12-06-2016) [link]
The vast majority of the quotation evidence in Robert Burchfield's OED Supplements comes from after the first (1928) edition was completed. The median date for these is 1944, whereas for the first edition it's 1742. However, in some circumstances ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, Mark Twain, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Sex in the OED" (12-02-2016) [link]
Two subprojects concerning OED quotation metadata are now near enough to complete to present some preliminary results. They concern the sex of the authors quoted in the OED, in both the first edition (1928) and the later Supplements (1933, ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, gender, lexicography, OED, oed1, Oxford English Dictionary, sex, Supplements
"Guest Post: Strong and Weak Genre Classification" (07-07-2016) [link]
Over the summer we're featuring guest posts by Research Assistants at The Life of Words. Here Cosmin Dzsurdzsa - a 2nd year undergraduate in English at UW - thinks about moving from human intuition to computer rule-making in textual-genre ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare
"Morsels, a kind of poem" (06-02-2016) [link]
Latest in the "A kind of poem" series [previous: here, here, and here], I give you is "Morsels", a kind of ..
tagged: poetry
"Guest Post: Moving from 2.0 to 3.0" (06-02-2016) [link]
Danielle Griffin recently completed her co-op term as a full-time research assistant at The Life of Words. Here she offers some thoughts about her work on identifying the textual genre of quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary: When I started ..
tagged: dictionaries, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry
"Etymologies" (04-18-2016) [link]
Anstruther Press has recently published Etymologies, a chapbook of poems by Asa Boxer, with an introductory essay by me: See the page at Anstruther Press for more ..
tagged: etymology, poetry
"How did OED Supplements Supplement?" (04-04-2016) [link]
There has always been an interest in the changing editorial practice within and between various editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. Recently some scholars have complained that changing electronic interfaces are making it impossible to ..
tagged: genre, graphs, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Life of Words Poetry Competition" (03-22-2016) [link]
Good news for Ontario secondary school students who like words: The Life of Words is announcing the first in what will be an annual poetry competition, in which we invite submissions of poems about words and reward excellence with some pretty great ..
tagged: Carol Ann Duffy, dictionaries, Emily Dickinson, etymology, Frances Leviston, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Paul Muldoon, poetry, Shakespeare
"Vector Space and Poetic Logic" (03-14-2016) [link]
I've been spending the weekend experimenting with vector space modelling and poetic language. Vector space word embedding models use learning algorithms on very large corpora in order map a unique location in n-dimensional space to each token ..
tagged: Ben Schmidt, corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, n-grams, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry
"The Best Words" (02-29-2016) [link]
The Life of Words is a bit late to this one, but: NEWSFLASH! Best Words, Best Word of Best Words, Located: Presented here without further comment, stupid. Enjoy Super Tuesday, ..
tagged: Donald Trump
"Bowie on OED" (01-11-2016) [link]
It's a day for sharing David Bowie quotations on the social medias. One in particular just crossed my path: I presume the person who wrote out, photographed, and posted this little tidbit (making sure to draw attention to their book store's own ..
tagged: lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry
"Pullum doesn't understand their own example" (11-30-2015) [link]
On the venerable Language Log earlier today, a post by Geoff Pullum [Annals of singular 'they': another case with known sex" 30.11.15] quotes Transparent writer/director Jill Soloway's interesting use of singular they [recently named a WOTY for ..
tagged: gender, politics, usage
"The Colour of Greyhounds" (11-26-2015) [link]
Do you know the old joke, "What colour was Napoleon's white horse?" Well I have another one for you: "What colour was Napoleon's greyhound?". Not sure? You may consult the Official Greyhound Colour Chart: Here's how OED sums up the ..
tagged: etymology, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Bad Boundary" (11-19-2015) [link]
Did a federal MP from Saskatchewan call a female NDP candidate a whore? [story at CNCNews.com 19.11.15]. Tom Lukiwski is alleged to have said: We got to get Greg back elected." He's too important of an MLA to let go down to an NDP whore just ..
tagged: phonetics
"Ted Cruz is no Scyld Scefing" (10-29-2015) [link]
I've read Beowulf. Beowulf was a friend of mine. And Senator... You know, when things sound stupid, they very usually are. And this headline sounds stupid: Ted Cruz as Beowulf: Matching Candidates With the Books They Sound Like [- The Upshot ..
tagged: Beowulf, correlation
"Ars longa, vita brevis" (10-23-2015) [link]
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, Th’assay so hard, so sharp the conqueringe, The dredful joye alwey that slit so yerne, Al this mene I by love, that my felynge Astonyeth with his wonderful werkynge So sore y-wis, that whan I on him ..
tagged: Chaucer
"Untrustable Assertions" (10-03-2015) [link]
Listening to the NPR today, I hear this from E. J. Dionne, commenting on GOP Congressman Kevin McCarthy's astounding statements about the civic accomplishments of the Republican House: [Dionne] We're going to have a lot of fun with him in terms ..
tagged: dictionaries, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Two Notes on T. S. Eliot and the OED" (09-28-2015) [link]
I have two upcoming notes in the journal Notes & Queries concerning T. S. Eliot and the Oxford English Dictionary. Though they won't be published until later next year, the self-archiving policy at Oxford Journals allows me to make an unrevised ..
tagged: lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, T. S. Eliot
"Interview with Paul Muldoon" (09-09-2015) [link]
Here are some excerpts from an interview I did with Paul Muldoon a couple of years ago, which focused on dictionaries and etymology. A full .pdf version of the interview can be downloaded here: [Interview with Paul Muldoon]. PM: I’ve never ..
tagged: Collins English Dictionary, dictionaries, etymology, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Paul Muldoon, T. S. Eliot
"Introducing the LOW Team" (08-07-2015) [link]
The recent Ontario Early Researcher Award [See "Big Boost for The Life of Words"] turned what had been largely a one-man show into a multi-person operation involving a number of research assistants and associates. To give them their due, I've ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry
"Boulder Cops Nab Rock Stacker" (06-16-2015) [link]
Some time ago I brought you the headline "Sandwich Police Make Burrito Bust". In the same vein, today's news is that a notorious pebble mounter in Colorado is finally facing the cold arm of the law [article from Raw Story here]: I don't know ..
tagged: ambiguity
"Big boost for The Life of Words" (06-09-2015) [link]
This news just released: The Life of Words is getting a major boost, in the form of a 0,00 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, UWaterloo, and St Jerome's University, to fund my research on poetry and the Oxford English ..
tagged: digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Method as Tautology" (05-21-2015) [link]
Although it has been available for a while in the advanced access section of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, and before that Literary and Linguistic Computing, my article on digital methods in literary research has recently been published in ..
tagged: corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, Geoffrey Hill, lexicography, OED
"Thermo Pairs, a kind of poem" (05-19-2015) [link]
Latest in the "kind of poem" series [see here and here], this one based on false positives that turned up in my list of invented lexical combinations in James Joyce ["Compounding ..
tagged: digital humanities, James Joyce, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Compounding Joyce" (05-18-2015) [link]
LOW on demand! This afternoon the Twitter threw up this query, following on from my last post on cutthroat compounds [Catchall for Cutthroats]: Well, here at The Life of Words, we aim to please. Since I've been mucking around with Python ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, T. S. Eliot
"Catchall for cutthroats" (05-15-2015) [link]
What is the difference between a catch-all and a catch-phrase? Both are compounds formed as Verb+Noun, but in catch-all, the noun is the direct object of the verb, whereas in catch-phrase it is the subject. That is, a catch-all is something that ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Seamus Heaney
"Little Miss Bossy Pants" (02-11-2015) [link]
In the comments to a Facebook share of my previous post on gendered language on Ratemyprofessors.com ["Vivid Unconscious Biases"], JB, a friend of a friend, writes: “bossy” is an inherently gendered term and is always used as an insult. I can’t ..
tagged: corpora, digital humanities, gender, graphs, n-grams, Oxford English Dictionary, prejudice
"Vivid unconscious biases" (02-08-2015) [link]
Claire Caine Miller has a post on the New York Times's "Upshot" blog on Ben Schmidt's visualization tool for word frequencies in 14M ratemyprofessors.com reviews, called "Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender" [9.2.15]. While ..
tagged: Ben Schmidt, gender, graphs, prejudice, teaching, visualization
"Published: "Geoffrey Hill's Etymological Crux"" (01-29-2015) [link]
I’m happy to say that Modern Philology has just published a longish article of mine on etymology in Geoffrey Hill’s work, called “All corruptible things: Geoffrey Hill’s Etymological Crux.” A self-archived copy of the article may be downloaded by ..
tagged: Coleridge, dictionaries, Donne, etymology, Geoffrey Hill, Milton, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry, T. S. Eliot
"Now With More Nodes! Updated Prize Network Maps" (01-23-2015) [link]
In his comments to my last post on "Poetry Prize Networks in the UK", Neil Astley said my maps ought to have included the Costa Poetry Awards. This had occurred to me when I was putting them together, but I hadn't been able to track down a proper ..
tagged: David Harsent, digital humanities, Fiona Sampson, John Burnside, Sean O'Brien, Simon Armitage, T. S. Eliot
"Poetry Prize Networks in the UK" (01-20-2015) [link]
For some reason, the awarding of poetry prizes is always an occasion for controversy--accusations of logrolling, of blackballing, of various forms of individual and institutional favouritism and collusion, of low aesthetic and/or moral standards. ..
tagged: David Harsent, Fiona Sampson, John Burnside, Michael Longley, poetry, Sean O'Brien, Simon Armitage, T. S. Eliot
"Plural Fixation" (11-30-2014) [link]
Or, "How not to be a pedant with the OED." I like a good hatchet job. Done well, the literary smack-down is thrilling and educative. Terry Eagleton on Richard Dawkins ["Lunging, flailing, mispunching", LRB, 19.10.06] is among my favourite examples ..
tagged: dictionaries, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Assessing Poetry Assessor" (11-06-2014) [link]
The web application called "Poetry Assessor" has had a second wave of attention since going back online recently. In this post I want to show why Poetry Assessor doesn't assess poetry, and to make a broader point about the "Humanities" in "Digital ..
tagged: corpora, digital humanities, John Keats, Milton, poetry, T. S. Eliot, Wordsworth
"Subsequent OED Quotations" (10-21-2014) [link]
You sometimes hear that Shakespeare contributed more words to the English language than anyone else. This claim is based on searches of the quotation evidence in the 2nd edition of the OED. In OED2, Shakespeare is the most-cited single-author source ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, Milton, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare, Times of London
""Pneumatic Bliss" - Eliot's Breasty OED Entry" (10-13-2014) [link]
More from the T. S. Eliot / Oxford English Dictionary files [for background, see "Did TSE use OED, SOED, or COD?" and "Eliotic OED"]. In the latter post, I noted that 0.0135% of OED definitions contain the phrase "[with/in] allusion to" and that two ..
tagged: allusion, corpora, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, n-grams, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, T. S. Eliot
"Eliotic OED" (10-06-2014) [link]
[UPDATE 9/15: If what follows interests you at all please see this update: "Two Notes on T. S. Eliot and the OED"] OED editor Robert Burchfield was responsible for adding Woolfian, Poundian, Joycean, Yeatsian, and Audenesque to the dictionary ..
tagged: allusion, dictionaries, digital humanities, lexicography, neologism, OED, T. S. Eliot
"Did TSE use OED, SOED, or COD?" (10-03-2014) [link]
[UPDATE 9/15: If what follows interests you at all please see this update: "Two Notes on T. S. Eliot and the OED"] Or, Possum's Practical Books of Words. On the internet and everywhere else people are confusing the Oxford English Dictionary ..
tagged: attribution, dictionaries, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, T. S. Eliot
"Misunderweared" (09-29-2014) [link]
A song from my early youth came back to me the other day. Here's the first verse, with a rough translation in italics: Le bon roi Dagobert                       Good King Dagobert A mis sa culotte à l'envers ;           Put on his culotte ..
tagged: etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Snowclone Sandwich" (09-23-2014) [link]
"Snowclone" is a word for a kind of transferable, reusable pattern of phrase, such as the original "X have Y words for Z" (on the pattern "Eskimos have fifty-five (or pick your number) words for snow", so transferable to "The French have no word for ..
tagged: Charles Dickens, etymology, lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"The Queen's English - Respec'" (09-15-2014) [link]
Looking through some graduate work the other day I came across a reference to "the Queen's English," in scare quotes, used in the general sense to describe the phenomenon of socially privileged dialect (as opposed to a specific British class ..
tagged: Ali G, corpora, digital humanities, etymology, n-grams, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe, Times of London
"Martin McDonagh Spam (?) Scam (?)" (08-31-2014) [link]
A couple of days ago, when someone called me from Pakistan to tell me  Microsoft wanted to disinfect my computer over the phone, an episode came back to me from my first term teaching in Canada. In December of 2010, I was the target of a very odd ..
tagged: Martin McDonagh, Matt Wolf
""Chickadee" an "Authorism"?" (07-29-2014) [link]
This morning while watching a small horde of black-capped chickadees [a banditry or dissimulation of chickadees, you might say, or just a flock] taking turns at the feeder, a I had a quick look through Paul Dickson's Authorisms: Words Wrought by ..
tagged: neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare, Thoreau
"Contending and Pretending with Etymology" (07-16-2014) [link]
This morning brought a FB cry for help: As I happen to have my American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (third edition) handy, I quickly came to the answer that English attend and content are indeed from the same root, although not ..
tagged: etymology, Jacques Derrida, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Ironic OED quotations" (07-07-2014) [link]
Knee-deep in OED quotation evidence today, I've been noting down some ironic entries. Here's a selected list. Headwords are indicated by bold type. 1905 Daily Chron. 22 Nov. 6/7 There are ‘Australianisms’ enough to make a dictionary an essential ..
tagged: lexicography, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"ICHLL 7 - Conference in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria" (07-06-2014) [link]
In the Canary Islands tonight, getting ready for the 7th International Conference on Historical Lexicography and Lexicology (ICHLL2014). A fascinating line-up of talks, most on subjects way astray of my field of knowledge. A list of papers and ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, dinner, ICHLL, Las Palmas, lexicography, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Hello, baby!" (07-04-2014) [link]
What did people say to babies before the 1820s? Some weeks ago my two-month old daughter began to smile. The internet has this to say about how to encourage babies to do more of that: Smile widely at her and offer a warm "hello" in that ..
tagged: Charles Dickens, dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, n-grams, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare
"On the origins of bears, and words for bears" (06-29-2014) [link]
A poem by Simon Armitage called "The Great Bear" (from CloudCukooLand, 1997) has a few things to say about, and to, a bear - or bears in general. The poem is modelled as a set of ratifications ("it's right... And right..." etc.) of ursine legends ..
tagged: etymology, Isidore of Seville, OED, Oxford English Dictionary, poetry, Simon Armitage, source attribution, The Great Bear
""Disobstetricate not their enixibility": OED's Double Hapaxes" (06-25-2014) [link]
Or, Urquhart's folly. Here's a challenge: write a sentence with two never-before-used words in it, and see if the Oxford English Dictionary ever adds both of them to its long list of English words. In "Acrasial Philogamy – Ghost Hapaxes in OED", I ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, Oxford English Dictionary
"We're moving! Go to "The Life of Words"!" (06-16-2014) [link]
For the last two and more years, I've been posting here on topics related to poetry, dictionaries, computers, and so on. Over 100 posts later, it's time for a new home. As of June 15, 2014, I'll be posting at my new project site: The Life of ..
tagged:
"Acrasial Philogamy - Ghost Hapaxes in OED" (06-13-2014) [link]
Poking around the OED today, I came across this entry, which I'll reproduce here in full: aˈcrasial, a. rare-1. [f. acrasy + -al1.] Ill-regulated, untempered, intemperate. 1851 S. JUDD Margaret II. xi. 321 (1871) ‘Acrasial Philogamy? Brother ..
tagged: etymology, neologism, OED, Oxford English Dictionary
"Going Live: "The Life of Words"" (06-13-2014) [link]
For over two years, I've been posting short posts and articles on topics related to poetry, criticism, lexicography - especially the Oxford English Dictionary - and Digital Humanities, on my research blog, "Poetry & Contingency". That blog was ..
tagged: dictionaries, digital humanities, etymology, lexicography, neologism, poetry


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