open access to OED one week only

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open access to OED one week only

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:19 pm

.. Erik I have never had the misfortune to read such a poor excuse for what is a blatant error .. to excuse bad spelling on the basis of market share is ridiculous .. it is as I have so often said on these pages an example of linguistic neo-colonialism by the US .. using their muscle in a more subtle way then military invasion but invasion all the same .. that we must all linguistically dumbdown to appease the US is sad .. true but sad ..

.. Bob a much better response than mine with less passion and some would say more sense .. particularly your point about using the spelling of the editing country .. but isn't it a sad thing that the power of the editing committee has passed to the US in the case of the OED ..

.. and with the way Google figures are constantly quoted as having some kind of veracity and deeper meaning it must only be a short time before the results of US elections are decided by googling .. the result being decided by which candidate gets the greatest number of google hits ..

WoZ of Aus 18/04/06
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Post by tony h » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:45 pm

If the OED is not consistent with its own definitions what authority can it have?

WoZ, saying the American elections are not determined by Googling is like saying the Easter Bunny does not exist? Belief can be truth.

Saddened but better informed :)

regards
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:27 pm

WoZ, so spelling 'licence' 'license' is both 'dumbing down' and a 'blatant error'? I would have thought it could not be both at once.

Really, though, I think it is ridiculous to accuse the OED of contributing to 'linguistic neo-colonialism by the US'. 'Linguistic neo-colonialism' implies a deliberate policy backed by concrete actions. I have yet to see any evidence of a concerted effort by Americans (or by the OED, for that matter) to subvert the English of the rest of the globe so that it conforms to the norms of American English (an enterprise that would be doomed in any case).

It would be more to the point (though equally futile) for you to tell your fellow-Australians to stop enjoying and watching American TV programmes, in order to prevent them from infecting themselves with American expressions and the influence of American culture. You'll have to forgive me for suggesting that the real problem here appears to be that of one Australian's parochialism.

Bob, you wrote:

"The OED is a British publication, and as such should use British spellings. Or are you saying that we all may as well use American spellings because there are more of them than there are of us, and consequently they have more money?"

Now, there is no 'should' about it in either case. All I said was that the OED is entitled to use whatever spelling it wants on its website, and that it has good reason to use the US spelling there because it's the one that is most familiar to its principal market. But of course this does not mean that 'everyone' ought to start using American spellings. I am just saying that the OED appears to have selected the spelling that is most appropriate for its own marketing purposes.

For the record, although the OED started life in Britain, its publisher, the Oxford University Press, has, like most large publishers, expanded its commercial interests into many different countries, and in effect is now a British-based multinational. It would be more appropriate to be pleased that a British company has done so well overseas than to complain that its website spells 'licence' as 'license'.
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Post by tony h » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:30 pm

Maybe we should further this international debate at a Wordwizard convention complete with Boxing ring.
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:17 pm

It's probably a plot to make everybody pay twice.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:23 am

If we hold it on Boxing Day, that should help quite a bit to increase the gate money -- maybe even by enough to afford to pay the OED subscription twice over. ;-)
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Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:09 am

Are you a shareholder or something Erik?

I say here and now that the OED is a magnificent publication and has done as much for Britain and the English language as any company based in the UK.

However, license is a verb, it is not a noun, and it should not be used as a noun. The OED is so highly respected around the world that “what it says, goes”, consequently using the wrong word on its website is not a sensible option at all.

Let’s hope it is a typo.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:38 pm

No, Bob, I have no connection of any kind with the OED.

I do, however, continue to dispute the correctness of your and WoZ's dogmatic assertion to the effect that "license is a verb, it is not a noun, and it should not be used as a noun". That usage may not be British English, but it is not wrong. I think you need to get away from the notion that British English is the gold standard of English usage from which no divergence is acceptable; it seems to me that your argument is grounded in sentiment, not logic or reality.

The fact that the OED has, as you state, "done as much for Britain and the English language as any company based in the UK" does not also oblige it to conform to British English in all its utterances. I have yet to see any convincing justification for such a point of view.
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Post by tony h » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:03 pm

With no response from the OED I decided to write to the Telegraph. So we may see a continuation there.

I may even buy a copy tomorrow.

By the way I noticed that the OED screen header claims "The Oxford English Dictionary : the definitive record of the English language". It does not specifically claim either British or American.

I am with Bob 100% on this one. The language will change but it has to change for good reason; sloppiness is not a good reason or els we will av a gr8 big mess.

Old fuddy daddy
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Post by Shelley » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:06 pm

WoZ, you wrote:
.. and with the way Google figures are constantly quoted as having some kind of veracity and deeper meaning it must only be a short time before the results of US elections are decided by googling .. the result being decided by which candidate gets the greatest number of google hits ..
Without a doubt, WoZ, Americans will soon be encouraged to "E-vote", just as they are now urged to "E-file" their taxes! I'm sure this is already in the works.

Erik Kowal, you wrote:
'Linguistic neo-colonialism' implies a deliberate policy backed by concrete actions. I have yet to see any evidence of a concerted effort by Americans (or by the OED, for that matter) to subvert the English of the rest of the globe so that it conforms to the norms of American English (an enterprise that would be doomed in any case).
I think there is a concerted effort by the American corporate/military/industrial whatchamacallit to colonize our values, economy, popular culture, politics and everything else all over the rest of the globe -- why not American English? It only takes a few "typos" . . . I think I'm with Bobinwales on this one.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:12 pm

Shelley: what, specifically, is your evidence (not speculation, not hunches) of what Woz has called 'linguistic neo-colonialism'? Is there a government policy promoting it? A cabbal of publishers? An association of Hollywood studios? A newspaper umbrella organisation? A TV language infiltration unit?

Show us the goods!
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Post by Shelley » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:05 pm

Oh, shoot Erik -- now I have to do some real work, instead of just mouth off. ;-)
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Post by tony h » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:23 pm

Shelley,
of course the E prefix is not new it is just used differently. It used to be e-lad or e-by-gum which was used as audible thinking time by dour Yorkshiremen.

I used to ask my grandfather a question like "what sort of cheese is the moon made out of?" He would answer "e-lad, that would be your Gorgonzola."

The length of the e was directly proportional to the difficulty of the question, and occaisionally, would even allow sufficient time for filling and lighting a pipe.

I was told that there are more people learning English in China than speak English (as a first or second language). So I guess we will have to turn our attention to the ravages made on our beloved language by the profliteration of Chinese English.


regards
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:50 pm

E gad....Chinglish
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Post by Bobinwales » Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:30 am

Erik, I live in Britain. British English is the gold standard here.

US spellings are fine in the US, and for anyone speaking/learning US English. They are not correct in the UK. Does it matter if children learn to spell correctly? I say it does. Are you saying that a child living in Leeds would be perfectly correct in writing, “humor me, and let me read my catalog”? I’m afraid my big red pencil would be very busy.
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