In the hours when Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat was stopped by her Republican contemporary for ‘impugning’ a colleague by reading aloud a letter written by Coretta Scott King that critiqued Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, thousands of Americans tapped away at their phones. But they weren’t checking messenger or checking out a post on Facebook. They were flickering through online dictionaries looking for definition of
At a time, when many are questioning the meaning of the common English words they believed they understood, subsequently years of the English language being tarnished by text messages and hashtags, dictionaries have made a surprising comeback in all parts of the world.
On dictionary applications as well as websites, “lookups” (which, according to Merriam-Webster, is one word) of words or idioms related to news events have impulsively increased. Bibliophiles are emerging as social media celebrities. Sales of print dictionaries remain brusque and are a source of income for some publishers.
“Dictionaries are not regarded as sexy or exciting, but what they are known for is validating the reality,” suggests Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer and former chair of the American Dialect Society. “At present, there are a lot of queries about what is factual. We want clear declarations as to what things are in real, and dictionaries offer the same.”
The most frequently used dictionaries, whether in hardcopy or softcopy, mirror what is known as “descriptive lexicography,” implicating that copyreaders study the way individuals use words and define their meaning grounded on that substantiation.
Social media has been a ground-breaking movement that changes the access lexicographers have to the development of how phrases are being used. The practice of evaluating proof and writing descriptions in a transparent and impartial style remains the objective, remarks the head of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press, Katherine Connor Martin. The intent is to provide the most exact information of the whereabouts of a word, what is the correct grammatical use of it and what meaning it carries. “Our aim is simple,” she claimed, “and it contributes to a sense of trustworthiness.”
But some dictionary houses are embracing the personality-driven beliefs of the digital period to make lexicography handier and possibly drive marketing proceeds through clicks. Companies like, Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com take help of Twitter and other networking sites to display the unique feature like sharing “word of the day” on a daily basis, real-time facts about phrases that are suddenly being explored by scores of individuals and cheeky comments on public figures and their use of language.
A few days ago, The President of the most powerful economy in the world, Donald Trump tweeted, “Professional anarchists, thugs, and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Later that day, the word, ‘Professional anarchists’ was posted on the ‘The Dictionary.com’ with an appropriate definition. The phrase was put into a new category altogether: Alternative facts!” Subsequently, a new link has been shared on the website that defined oxymorons.
The intent is not to be dogmatic or opinionated, held Lauren Sliter, who happens to be the in-charge of the marketing department at Dictionary.com and writes their Twitter content. Contrasting current events with strange words helps exhibit the relevance and practicality of an expanded lexis, Ms. Sliter anticipated.Contributing to validating the views of a president’s message associated with the perseverance of a dictionary, she further added. “We have gone from the age of great oratory to a time of great tweets,” she said. But since tweets usually lack background and distinction, “things can come off as a little confusing, and we wish to be willing in clarifying things.”
But the dictionary’s commentaries are often grammatically, not administratively, enthused. When Hillary Clinton mentioned during the election campaign to her opponent, Mr. Trump’s followers with the phrase “basket of deplorable,” the dictionary testified a spike in lookups of “deplorable” and marked in a blog post: “this vocabulary defines 'Deplorable' as an adjective. Clinton’s contextual use of the word as a noun is rare.”
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