Currently Reading: Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again, both by David Foster Wallace and both for a class. You’ll be seeing tons of excerpts from both of them for the next couple of months. And as my before bed, on the bus, in between classes reading, The Eyre Affair, first book in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde.
For instance, did you know that some modern dictionaries are notoriously liberal and others notoriously conservative, and that certain conservative dictionaries were actually conceived and designed as corrective responses to the “corruption” and “permissiveness” of certain liberal dictionaries? That the oligarchic device of having a special “Distinguished Usage Panel.. of oustanding professional speakers and writers” is some dictionaries’ attempt at a compromise between the forces of egalitarianism and traditionalism in English, but that most linquistic liberals dismiss the Usage Panel Device as mere sham-populism, as in e.g. “Calling upon the opinions of the elite, it claims to be a democratic guide”?
Did you know that US lexicography even had a seamy underbelly?