What Makes a Word “Real”?

by Nov 22, 2014Linguistics3 comments

This video is fantastic.

I love the moment when she asks, “Who regularly refers to a dictionary either in print or online?” Almost every hand in the audience goes up. Then she asks, “Who has ever looked to find out the editor of a dictionary?” A lot fewer hands. Mine definitely went up. I’ve even blogged about usage panels.

And I still say, like, again, that working to “get” the English language and to understand language change will save you from a lot of silly mistakes in your Bible interpretation. Because Greek changed just like English; it was spoken by the equivalents of newscasters and busboys, heads of state and tails of state—just like English. If you “get” English, that should help you “get” Greek and Hebrew.

HT: Dustin Battles

Read More 

Did Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible?

Did Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible?

Salon.com recently published an interview with sociologist Samuel L. Perry titled, “When Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible: The English Standard Version Goes PC.” And I got a reply to all this: Nuh-uh! Let me elaborate that answer, however, because “nuh-uh”...

THE INCREDI-NASB!!!! More Literal than a Speeding ESV!!!

THE INCREDI-NASB!!!! More Literal than a Speeding ESV!!!

In my other life, I am the editor of Faithlife’s Bible Study Magazine, and one of my first acts as editor was to give myself a column: “Word Nerd: Language and the Bible.” They said I could. I also turn all the columns—plus a few that aren’t in print—into YouTube...

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

The Inclusive Language Debate: A Plea for Realism, by D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998). Don Carson's prose is elegant, and his pace is perfect. He briskly moves the reader through a narrative of the conflict among evangelical Christians over so-called...

Mark Driscoll Makes It into the OED

Look who I discovered being cited in the august OED… I wish I knew more about the work of OED lexicographers, my heroes. I don't know, for example, how OED editors find/choose their citation sources. It's just that beyond Shakespeare and various editions of the Bible,...

Leave a comment.

  1. David Lowry

    I’m getting an error for that version of the video. Here’s the YouTube one:

  2. mlward

    Thanks, Dave! Enjoy, everybody! This woman is an expert popularizer; she knows her stuff and found rhetorically winsome and engaging ways to present it to an educated audience that is nonetheless unacquainted with the work of a usage panel. A lot of people in that audience, if my experience serves me, would have objected to her ideas if presented in a less engaging way. People just won’t grab on to the basic ideas of language change. They resist them tooth and nail!

    I still want to get onto the AHD Usage Panel… I envy her.

  3. Bill Lowry

    Hey, I’ll put in a good word for you, Bro, so you can get panelized!


  1. What the Dictionary Taught Me About Bible Study - […] online. I almost always skip them when people link to them. But when blogger Mark Ward says, “This video…
  2. Zombie Nouns and Verbs: Why Nominalizations and Passives May Be Killing Your Writing - […] What Makes a Word “Real”? A fascinating TED Talk by Anne Curzan, English professor at the University of Michigan and…