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Monday, April 30, 2007

Re SF Dictionary and Slang Dictionary

I own and love each of the dictionaries reviewed below:

From www.jeffprucher.com
"The Publicity Machine has already begun its work
Language Hat listed BNW as one of his favorite books of 2006, before it was even published, which is, if not a first, surely pretty unusual, and quite a high compliment. (No, he doesn't, to my knowledge, have a time machine but he was the copyreader on Brave New World...)"
posted by jeff @ March 06, 2007 12:06 AM

"The Millions (A Blog About Books)

December 10, 2006

A Year in Reading: Languagehat
Languagehat is a deep repository of interesting linguistic tidbits. An essential blog for those with an interest in language, Languagehat is also engaging enough to make regulars out of a monolingual like me. "Hat" was nice enough to share some of his favorite books from this year:

Jeff Prucher's Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction isn't even out yet, but as a copyeditor I've had the opportunity to read the whole thing, and it's definitely one of my favorite books of the year. Yes, I got paid money to read it, but anyone who knows me at all knows that lexicography and science fiction are two of my favorite things, and to have them combined in a glorious package is a thrill that has nothing to do with a paycheck. If someone had told me forty years ago that the people who put out the OED would one day apply their scholarly talents to my favorite field, I would have been even more impatient for the future to arrive. It's got etymologies, citations going back to the Renaissance and right up to 2006, fan terms going back to the purple-stained days of hectographs... Anyone who loves both words and sf will love this book. FIAWOL (= Fandom Is a Way of Life)!

Grant Barrett's The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English is another amazing lexicographical performance that does something that would have been impossible until the advent of the Internet: applies the full panoply of scholarly resources to new or marginal words that do not appear in other dictionaries. Grant's website Double-Tongued Word Wrester has been tracking such words since 2004, and he's put the best of them into this book. One of my favorites is vuzvuz 'a derogatory name for an Ashkenazic Jew... This term is usually used within the religion, especially by Sephardic Jews.' A few entries in succession: AMW "a (pretty) woman whose career derives in some way from her appearance' (from Actress, Model, Whatever); area boy 'a hoodlum or street thug' (a Nigerian term); armchair pilot 'a person who talks about, studies, or directs airplane flying, but is not qualified to, or does not, handle the controls' (a military term), and Asbo 'a court order designed to curtail unwanted public behavior' (UK, from "anti-social behaviour order"). I can splash around in it for hours."

Some of my favorites from Unofficial English (this is Irene speaking again) are: sleeve v. to decorate an arm with tattoos; and Bangalored adj. having been relocated to India; having lost business or employment due to such a relocation.

Unofficial English has lots of neologisms, that is, newly coined words,and existing words applied to new circumstances.

Brave New Words presents terms used in science fiction, fantasy or horror genres for at least ten years, or in the literary criticism or fandom thereof. Slideway n. a moving sidewalk or walkway is cited from 1942. How long ago did they arrive in our airplane terminals?

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