they don't make words like they used to

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 11 18:10:49 UTC 2006

Just got this notice on Linguist List, which led me to wonder...

>LINGUIST List: Vol-17-2552. Mon Sep 11 2006. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
>Subject: 17.2552, Confs: Writing Systems/Netherlands
>Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 10:36:03
>From: Anneke Neijt < a.neijt at >
>Subject: Constraints on Spelling Changes (5th International Workshop
>on Writing Systems)
>Constraints on Spelling Changes (5th International Workshop on
>Writing Systems)
>Date: 05-Oct-2006 - 06-Oct-2006
>Location: Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
>Contact: Anneke Neijt
>Contact Email: a.neijt at
>Meeting URL:
>Linguistic Field(s): Writing Systems
>Meeting Description:
>This lustrum workshop offers a forum of discussion between
>researchers from different fields of writing research (theoretical
>linguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics or
>language education), from different countries and working on
>different languages.

...what exactly a lustrum workshop was.  I was pretty sure I'd never
knowingly encountered a lustrum before, and had no conception of what
it might be.  Anyone else know?  I may have lived a sheltered (not to
say benighted) life, but I was somewhat surprised to come across this
announcement with its apparent presupposition that the reader would
immediately recognize that a "lustrum workshop" obviously refers to...

[SPOILER SPACE while you rack your brains to figure it out]

 that meets every five years.  From:

1. A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population
after the census every five years.
2. A period of five years.
Now, \quintennial/ I'd have figured out.  (But maybe the idea is that
some ritual purification of orthography is involved.)


The American Dialect Society -

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