Query re the non-divinity of lexicographers

Robert S. Wachal robert-wachal at UIOWA.EDU
Sun May 20 12:17:31 UTC 2001

Yes, but the Sopreme Court judges went well beyond the dictionary in
considering flag burning to be a form of speech, which I discussed and
deplored in a DSNA paper in 1999.

Bob Wachal

At 11:01 PM 5/19/01 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Friends of Lexicography:
>        While many of you who regularly contribute to the ADS list are
>admirably and modestly aware of the human frailties of those who labor in
>this vineyard, we are also aware of the popular tendency to deify
>lexicographers, Webster's having sat beside the Bible on many a frontier
>shelf as the only two books in the household.
>        A linguistically savvy friend of mine tried convincing a judge
>recently of the possible human failings of published dictionaries, and was
>met with visceral rejection. His concern arises from the observation that
>dictionaries are the primary source of linguistic wisdom among the
>judiciary (as if lexicographers didn't have enough weight on their
>shoulders!). He would like to be pointed to some good sources that might
>be useful in getting across the point that dictionaries are human products
>and might (sorry!) at times not attain the perfection that the judiciary
>        Thanks,
>        Rudy

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