Re: What dictionaries do

Subject: Re: What dictionaries do
From: Louise Penberthy <louise -at- PRAVDA -dot- CC -dot- GATECH -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 1994 17:39:59 -0400

In article <9407181627 -dot- AA28121 -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com>,
Arthur Comings <atc -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com> wrote:
>framptonr%river -dot- decnet -at- canada -dot- ca -dot- cch -dot- com wrote:
>> Dictionaries only *report* usage. They do not *legislate*
>> it.

>As I understand it, the prescriptive/descriptive debate is ongoing
>among the creators of dictionaries. It's impossible to accurately say
>what *all* dictionaries do; this decision a tough call for them, and
>what they do depends on who's in charge and what guidelines they're

All dictionaries prescribe usage. To the extent that people look
up words in a dictionary and then use them according to what the
dictionary says, they prescribe usage. But one could make the
case that that's not legislation. After all, no one holds a gun
to your head .... :-) or do I mean ;-) or maybe just :)


-- Louise Penberthy

Louise Penberthy | O Goddess, keep me in the company of
LCC | those who seek the truth, and preserve
Georgia Tech | me from those who have found it.
louise -at- pravda -dot- cc -dot- gatech -dot- edu |

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