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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday January 18 2009

Lebrecht:

There is much pain and memory still to be catharted in Vietnam and this event promises to be a new stage in the healing process.

I don’t know if “catharted” is a new word, or just an old one I’ve not heard used like that before.  If it’s new, excellent.  (I could have done without “healing process” though.)

New words like this should make immediate sense, as they often do when you turn a noun into a verb, i.e. when you verb a noun, the way I just verbed verb.  People should say: yes, that’s a good word, we have needed that word. I can use that too.  Or, maybe: I don’t need that word, but given what he was saying and how he was saying it, and the sentence he was in the middle of when he needed it, he did need it, so he made it up.

Mass outcry here in Cape Town over delayed exam results being released. Not particularly because they were delayed per se, but because some senior lady in the Education Dept stated live on local radio that: “there are still some 2,000 students who have yet to be resulted.”

Cue outraged calls from ex teachers, ex students and et cetera saying that you can’t use the word “resulted” in that context.

Yes, something could have happened which “resulted” in something else happening, but someone, be they eagerly anticipating scholar or not, cannot be “resulted”.

Such was the fuss, that the radio station even went as far as contacting the local supplier of the OED, who agreed that no, people cannot be “resulted”, but was rather less hysterical about the whole issue as Disgusted of Rondebosch.

I recognise that there is certainly some correct vocabulary for describing the different uses of the word “resulted” in these ways, but since I was schooled mainly in the 1980’s, I don’t know what that vocabulary is. I feel sure some of your other correspondants will be able to assist (my money is on Michael J).

Posted by 6000 on 19 January 2009

I like the fact that people who compete in Olympic sports (not necessarily at the Olympics) use the verb “to medal”, which means finish in the first three.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 19 January 2009

Almost immediately after I read this, I read this:
The Politics of Lexicography, or How To Become Normative Without Really Trying

I got as far as this before coming here and posting that link:

Furthermore, I learned that the question of linguistic authority has interesting nuances that most non-lexicographers don’t appreciate — and which, for complicated historical/political reasons, often go unadmitted by lexicographers themselves.

The question at the bottom of everything I’m going to write about in the rest of this essay is “Who controls the norms of language?”. That is, how do we judge whether a lexical or grammatical usage is correct or incorrect?

Now I’m off to read the rest of it…

Posted by Rob Fisher on 19 January 2009

I think it is fair to assume that the local supplier of the OED in South Africa is more aware of the interesting nuances than Disgusted of Rondebosch, and that the people who actually compile the OED are even more so.

6000: I was also schooled mainly in the 1980s. The English classes I was taught at secondary school just about got as far as explainin what a noun and a verb were, although I think even that wasn’t actually on the syllabus and may have been the teacher improvising.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 19 January 2009

Michael: It sounds like you were in my class. Well, except for the whole “explaining what a noun and a verb are” bit, anyway…

Posted by 6000 on 20 January 2009
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