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

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  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!



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