RE: Address this. . . and dictionaries

Subject: RE: Address this. . . and dictionaries
From: "Handy, David" <dhandy -at- Informatica -dot- com>
To: "Paul Pehrson" <paulpehrson -at- gmail -dot- com>, "Fred Ridder" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 16:56:15 -0000

Paul,
Sorry to correct you about the dictionaries - but I think you have the
Merriam Webster-American Heritage distinction backwards. Webster's Third
New International Dictionary was descriptive in approach - and this
insensed the editor of the American Heritage magazine so much that he
developed the American Heritage Dictionary as a prescriptive antidote.
That's how the American Heritage began anyway; I can't vouch for later
editions or for other Merriam-Webster dictionaries.

Best,
David

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+dhandy=informatica -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+dhandy=informatica -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Paul Pehrson
Sent: 15 March 2010 17:14
To: Fred Ridder
Cc: kevin -dot- mclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Address this. . .

For what it is worth, I have two thoughts on this topic:

1. You do know that even if American Heritage is the only dictionary
that runs contrary to your theory that AH is widely known as being a
descriptive dictionary while M-W is widely regarded as being a
prescriptive dictionary?
So, you can use M-W to support what the words "should" mean, but AH will
tell you how people are actually USING the term. Since the question here
is what might the user interpret from the wording, I think a descriptive
approach might be more justified than a prescriptive approach; how
language actually IS used is more important (in this case) then how it
SHOULD be used.

2. The English language is a living, changing language. You've done
something for 12 years, but now you are wondering if you need to change
it.
Word meanings and usages change over time. You might take an extreme
approach and say, "we've been doing this for 120 years, so I'm going to
keep the same terminology and syntax." When you increase the time by a
factor of ten, you can see that it is silly to assume that just because
it was clear
12 years ago it is still the best way to share your message.


Paul Pehrson

blog.paulpehrson.com
paulpehrson.com

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:34 AM, Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
wrote:

>
> I've been trying to resist getting sucked into this debate about
> unresolved issues, but I finally lost the battle.
>
> > And then, I quoted two dictionaries, one widely used in the USofA
> > and the other widely used in Britain, neither of which had even a
> > suggestion that "address"
> > means "fix".
>
>
> What about definition 2b in one of the Merriam-Webster entry you
cited?
>
>
>
> "2 a : to direct the efforts or attention of (oneself) <will address
> himself to the problem> b : to deal with : treat <intrigued by the
> chance to address important issues - I. L. Horowitz>"
>
>
>
> "To deal with" certainly suggests "to fix" in my ear. But maybe I've
> just got tinnitis...
>
> -Fred Ridder
>
>
>
>
>
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References:
RE: Address this. . .: From: kathleen
RE: Address this. . .: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Address this. . .: From: Fred Ridder
Re: Address this. . .: From: Paul Pehrson

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