December 23, 2006

American Heritage: __scriptive dictionary

Cute story in today's Times about the American Heritage Dictionary: is it prescriptive or descriptive?

Read bits about its history, Webster's Third, and the Oxford American Dictionary. And find out about the panel who decides what's in & what's out.

Personally, I'm in the David Foster Wallace camp: "Syntax Nudnik of Our Time, or Snoot"; Wallace says "A fellow Snoot I know likes to say that listening to most people’s English feels like watching somebody use a Stradivarius to pound nails. We are the Few, the Proud, the Appalled at Everyone Else.”

Wordsmiths: They Also Serve Who Only Vote on "Ain't"
Dec. 23, 2006
The Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary is working to make a dictionary descriptive as well as

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