June 14, 2018
Lots of people use dictionaries not for the definitions--who cares about those?--but for the pronunciations. Steve and Kory talk about how those pronunciations came to be, and why the pronunciation editor gets to watch TV all day instead of getting a REAL JOB. They explain what that stupid bananapants alphabet that American dictionaries use for pronunciations is, drop some hot history on how pronunciations got into dictionaries, and go very inside-baseball on how editors figure out which pronunciations to include when they get stuck. Kory talks about Walter Cronkite and lingerie; Steve talks about flaps. And if that wasn't enough, did you know that dictionaries enter the "noo-KYOO-lur" pronunciation of "nuclear"? They sure as shootin' do!
- Arthur the Rat!
- Tattoos! (Steve's, not Kory's)
- The dankest of nerd memes
- Stamper Mispronunciation Index: 1 intentional, 1 unintentional, 1 disputed
May 31, 2018
If "irregardless" isn't a real word, then why the hell is it in my dictionary?!? It's a matter of philosophy. Steve and Kory give a primer on descriptivism and prescriptivism, two approaches to describing language, and how modern dictionaries are descriptivist (which is exactly the opposite of what everyone believes). They recap the culture wars of the 1960s, which gave rise to the American Heritage Dictionary; discuss the AHD Usage Panel and what it does; lament the state of modern dictionary marketing; and gab extensively about where people can get themselves some of that sweet, sweet prescriptivism they long for.
- Kory and Steve offer to stage-fight at your conference;
- Steve introduces you to the best dictionary marketing video known to humanity (and YOU ARE MOST WELCOME);
- Steve amazes Kory w/r/t Romanian;
- Stamper Mispronunciation Rundown: "biases"
May 17, 2018
Welcome to Fiat Lex, a podcast about dictionaries by people who write them! Yes, really.
Meet Kory and Steve, your intrepid and nerdy lexicographer-hosts who will give you the drudge's-eye view of English and dictionaries in all their weirdness. In our first episode, we:
- blow your minds by telling you that "the dictionary" doesn't exist;
- talk about how new words get into dictionaries (not by petition, so STOP ASKING) and how that's not as straightforward a process as you would think;
- explain how lexicographers find new words, which sometimes involves beer and diapers;
- touch on how words get taken out of dictionaries, and how that's not as straightforward a process as you would think, either. Assuming you think about such things. (Who are we kidding here?)
- Kory spells a word aloud correctly, which will probs never happen again;
- Steve channels Chumley the Walrus and then goes right into fancy linguist talk about velars and coronals;
- Tennessee represents!