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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Although those words have become pervasively used in our culture, perhaps we need to keep certain words in the Wiktionary or Urban Dictionary. Is that too pretentious?

    • Kris Giere

      It is not pretentious to want to separate fad words from sustainable words. The Oxford English dictionary has such a process. They adopt a new word or definition if it is used consistently the same way for a generation (20 years) or more. This does not exclude pop-culture or slang if the words stand the test of time. For example, the OED has accepted the exclamation of "Doh!" which was made famous by Homer Simpson, but its adoption took 20 years of consistent usage. I think there needs to be a delineation between pop-culture dictionary entries and dictionary entries that do not fade over time.

      • Rodrigo Mejia

        Language is tricky and English is the trickiest of the bunch. Many deride "valley girl" speak for its use of "like" over and over, but it's linguistically unique and recognized. Words don't have the same use across regions, making it hard to measure their full value. Still, I'm sure everyone would be fine to do away with jorts and what in the world is a food baby? Also, I'd like to replace "twerking" with its former title: "freak-dancing". What's the difference there?

        In any case, I'm completely fine with pop culture words being included in the dictionary. Making nouns into verbs is just as hairy an issue, but it's become practical for English speakers (much like the recently-added words).

        • Kris Giere

          I understand your point; however, we have enough pop-culture dictionaries; Webster's has been doing that well for decades. What I am asking for is a counter-balance based on multi-generational use, which the OED used to provide said counter-balance.

          The OED's process used to recognize regional definitions as well as long as they were consistently used for a generation. It wasn't a measure of value; it was a measure of use, serving as a guide for the etymological evolution of the English language. I also have no problem with pop-culture words being added to the dictionary as long as they have longevity or are added to a dictionary whose sole purpose is to catalog the ebbs and flows of fad language. What this article points out is the loss of balance in our cataloging of language and its usage.

          • Rodrigo Mejia

            I agree. The history of who decided which dictionary to use is very loose and without order. A calming redress of how words are cataloged and some kind of an agreement on the guidelines would provide much needed balance. There's has been an equal call for language reform for some time. Why not attach the causes to each other?

            Mind if I ask you for better candidates to be added to the dictionary and why so? Maybe some OED reforms you have in mind?

            • Kris Giere

              I would just like the OED to keep its former standards of 20 years of consistent use to gain entry and 30 years of non-mainstream use for removal.

              We should categorize pop-culture or slang usages still in some dictionaries, but all I am asking for is a clear delineation between sustainable words and fad words. I am not a fan of language reform, just a fan of having a balance of resources/references to use while trying to understand the language I come into contact with.

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        Interesting. So twerking has been around for 20 years? Wasn't aware!

        • Kris Giere

          Your comment made me question the validity of the article, so I reread the article more carefully. What I didn't realize is that when the OED went digital they abandoned the above standard and have chosen a "descriptivist" approach, which means that the 20 rule is gone.

          I am sorry for misleading you. I hadn't realized the change. I am now a little depressed actually.

          • Alessandra Rizzotti

            That IS said. Interesting to know the history though. Wish it wasn't like this now!

  • Stef McDonald

    Bet many would like to click "It's Not Good" as they roll their eyes.