Language

Bruce Moore reviews 'Authorisms' by Paul Dickson

Bruce Moore
Friday, 31 October 2014

American Paul Dickson has written many books on aspects of language, including Words from the White House (2013). He also claims to have invented some fifty words, although he admits that only two of these have any real chance of becoming ‘household words’: word word ‘a word that is repeated to distinguish it ...

Amanda Laugesen on the slow death of Australian slang

Amanda Laugesen
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

There was a recent flurry of Australian media interest in the wake of the publication of a new edition of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, edited by Tony Thorne. Thorne only added a small number of new Australian slang termsto the new edition: ‘ort’, buttocks; ‘tockley’, penis; and ‘unit’, defined as a bogan. The apparent lack of new Austra ...

Amanda Laugesen on the ‘super-dictionary’

Amanda Laugesen
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

In a 2011 lecture, David Crystal, a leading authority on the English language, spoke about the possibility of a ‘super-dictionary’ of English – a dictionary that would include every word in global English. Such a dictionary was, he acknowledged, a ‘crazy, stupid idea’, but an idea that seemed somehow possible in the electronic age, where the constraints of print no longer apply.

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Amanda Laugesen on Slang and the Australian Soldier

Amanda Laugesen
Thursday, 27 March 2014

The relationship between the world of soldiers and the world of civilians has long been a topic of interest to historians and other scholars of war. Joan Beaumont’s significant new book Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War (reviewed in ABR, February 2014) emphasises the importance of considering the war front and home front side by side, and a ...

In his brief preface to Volume 1 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography 17881850 A–H (1966), Douglas Pike describes the ‘all-Australian, Commonwealth-wide … consultation and co-operation’ underpinning the volume and notes that the breadth and complexity of its intellectual network meant the Dictionary could ‘truly be ...

#Queryfail

Mary Cunnane
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mary Cunnane, who has worked in the publishing industry since 1976, laments the laziness and irritation of those publishers who resent and underestimate unsolicited submissions from authors

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Bernadette Hince reviews 'Words of the World'

Bernadette Hince
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nothing ever gets taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – at least, that’s what I believed until I read this book. Words which are no longer used simply stay where they are, complete with their quotations, and the addition of a small dagger symbol (†) to signify their obsolescence: for example,

Colin Steele

Colin Steele
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dr Johnson wrote in his review of Soame Jenyns’s A Free Enquiry into the Nature of the Origin of Good and Evil: ‘The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.’ One could argue, in the context of contemporary scholarly writing, that increasingly the only end is to satisfy the evaluative demands of research ...

'Unsung hero of Australian lexicography' by Sarah Ogilvie

Sarah Ogilvie
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Historical dictionaries depend on quotations to exemplify how a word is used over time. An unsung hero of Australian lexicography, who contributed more than 100,000 quotations to the Australian National Dictionary (AND) and Oxford English Dictionary (OED) over a period of thirty years, died two years ago this month. Mr Chris ...

'Landmines in lexicography' by Sarah Ogilvie

Sarah Ogilvie
Monday, 23 April 2012

When the ALP conference voted to amend the party platform on same-sex marriage at the end of last year, there was a flurry of debate in magazines, newspapers, and online. The platform now states: ‘Labor will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all adult couples irrespective of sex who have a mutual commitment to a shared life.’ For lexicographers, thi ...

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