Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dictionary (n.) - I have no idea what I'm doing!


A book, document, or database containing lists of words and associated information usually in alphabetical order.


History and Etymology

Derived from the Latin dictionarius meaning wordbook or collection of phrases.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dictionarius was first used in english, as the title of a textbook on Latin composition by a teacher named John of Garland in the 13th century.

In the 16th century early Dictionaries began appearing containing lists of words and their translations into other languages or dialects. Initially these dictionaries where english to latin, and later for modern languages.Translation dictionaries did exist before this but went by different names.

In the 17th century the word dictionary was applied to books that contained lists of “Hard Words” and their explanations. The earliest printed dictionary of hard words was Robert Cawdrey's Table Alphabeticall of 1604.

In 1755 Samuel Johnson published the first comprehensive dictionary of the English Language.

Descriptivism vs. Prescriptivism

When Samuel Johnson set out on his quest to create an authoritative dictionary he made a mistake many many people make these days. Samuel Johnson was trying to prescribe the english language, trying to set it instone and control what words meant. This is called prescriptivism.

But by the end of his eight year project of writing his dictionary Johnson had changed his mind. The meanings of words couldn’t always be nailed down. He changed his focus from prescribing what English should be to describing what English is. This is called descriptivism.

That’s primarily what I want to do with my video dictionary describe how words are being used.  Sometimes I’ll cover words that are mundane, like the days of the week or colors, because I find their histories or etymologies interesting.

But other times more controversial words will catch my attention. Liberal, conservative, fascist, capitalism socialism.

The definition provided at the beginning of each entry are written by me, based on a combination of observation of current usage, historical usage, and information gathered from other sources.

In the history and etymology section I describe how the word came to be in the english language, descriptions of how the word and it’s meaning has changed, and any interesting trivia I have come across about the word.

and the last section of each entry will be a commentary on how I see the word being used or misused, by those in public discourse, the mainstream, and alternative media.

I’m also interesting in including words that may not have made it into a traditional dictionary due to its obscurity or the ever changing nature of internet culture.


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