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« I May Have Chosen The Right Profession | Main | Baby-less »

w January 07, 2009

I'm Sure It Will Give My Father Fits

But I found this article really intriguing in terms of the way 'acceptable spelling' and 'accepted words' evolve:


I have had this experience more than once in the last four months, what with the paper writing and such. I can't remember the actual word I used - oh, wait, yes I can. Evidentiary. I was sprinkling fifty dollar words throughout, as one does, and was particularly pleased with the use of this one, at which MS Word balked. Being a good proto-librarian, I did some research on Google and lo and behold, it IS in dictionaries, at least the online versions, especially those of a legal nature. So I used it, and no one batted an eye. Given that there is some friction in the profession over controlled vocabulary versus natural language, I think this is a particularly interesting look at how things are mutating; the more I mull it over, the more I come down on the side of natural language. I'm pretty sure that puts me in the 'rogue' camp for classical librarianship, but as most of you have heard from my frequent soapboxes, I'm not all that interested in being a classical librarian. I don't think any of us should be, frankly - whether we like it or not, things *are* changing, and if we embrace that and tweak it appropriately, how much more effective and efficient could we be? This is the thing I've found - we're all pretty smart people, and we appreciate the power of words and ideas and the information baby of the two - things may be different when we get our piece of paper, but different isn't bad, it's just different. Change means you're staying awake. Awake is good. We can be like the intellectual version of coffee. Coffee is also good.

And just to beat a dead horse, language is organic. It's ORGANIC. How many words or phrases did Shakespeare supposedly coin? How much terminology was pupped from the expansion of the tech world, now completely mainstream? How many current words were once a) taboo or b) no big deal and are NOW taboo? New words aren't bad words, they're just words - we're the ones who slap labels and value on them. I'd rather have patrons be able to search for whatever their organic little brains are thinking of, and get at least approximately close to the right result - makes everyone's life a little easier. And that's the point, because then we can spend the freed up time creating new words.

But my dad can still be the Royal Grammarian. It amuses him.

by at January 07, 2009 8:23 AM | TrackBack Comments
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