I think the dictionary is just words to describe things to make us think we know what we are talking about. How credible is the dictionary?
It is even more complicated than that. Words are the things that make us think.
Since words change meanings all the time (see my hub on Christmas conversation and ladybirds), the dictionary is always a little behind.
Words get their meaning from other words in a sentence and context and so the dictionary meaning is always a starting point. Irony, also, makes words oh so transparent.
That said, some dictionaries are more credible than others.
lol I don't think that is absolute either.
Words are symbols for ideas/concepts. A dictionary is an attempt to chronicle what the relevant ideas/concepts are to which words are associated by a given broadly dilineated culture, with the acknowledgement that there are different usages made by the existence of multiple definitions and associated time-periods from which those different usages began approximately to appear.
While language is not perfect by any means (the reality of which birthing bodies of philosophy and anthropology), it is the only means we have to communicate and perpetuate knowledge. Look at a dictionary more as a guidebook than a rulebook and you'll have less issues with it.
lol Hold on Shades, i'm not trying to get the dictionary banned. I'm just making a case that the dictionary doesn't define everything if anything. I believe the dictionary and transfer of information has played a critical part in learning from each other in the previous generations.
I think many people limit themselves to dictionaries which could prohibit learning something not yet defined. I proved this in a previous thread.
Well, I didn't think you were trying to get it banned, so we're all good on that front. I was just attempting to point out that the dictionary just gives guidance as to possible and likely meanings for words based on the most recent cultural trends.
When you say it "doesn't define everything if anything," I agree that dictionaries don't create the definition of words, they simply write down popular definitions, recording them so that others can see what common usages are. I don't know of any dictionaries that are creating definitions for anything. That would not be a dictionary, it would be an essay or a treatise etc.
Good answers, Shadesbreath.
Dictionaries are compiled from sources e.g. newspapers, samples of street talk, etc. Today both The Guardian and the BBC talked about new words that came into use this year and were accepted by the Oxford Dictionary. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/de … s-tweetups
Obamaland and simples are the ones I remember from reading the paper this morning.
Of course the bigger the dictionary, the more uses of a word you can find. I just love my bulky 2 volume Shorter Oxford Dictionary from 1933. But I know of dictionaries of more than 5 volumes. Some languages, like Afrikaans, are still compiling their dictionaries.
Of course you have to ask if you use words of if words use you.
My OED is 20 volumes. It's a joy to look through.
My OED is 20 volumes. It's a joy to look through.
Darn, that makes me so jealous. I love dictionaries. Whenever I look up a word, I make a note in my dictionary saying why I had to look it up. Internet dictionaries are just not the same.
Wikipedia? To use as a dictionary! I won't even allow my students to quote it.
I often do editing and then I refer to Google wordcount to decide which an usage is more common if I cannot find a good answer in a dictionary.
to be of a great importance
I never use „a“. If you google it for UK, without a is used 3 million times and with a 1,4 million times.
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