Fiat Lex: A Dictionary Podcast
Descriptivism and Prescriptivism

Descriptivism and Prescriptivism

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"


Read the rest of this entry »

Getting A Word Into The Dictionary

Getting A Word Into The Dictionary

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!


Read the rest of this entry »