Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Oct 29 18:09:28 UTC 2010

> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>

> I think "subliterate" is actually in the print OED2 -- it's just
> difficult to find, buried under sense 19a of the prefix "sub-".
> ("Subliterature" is under 5c.)

You're right. It's there. I'd looked and failed to find it.
Sub-literate is there in volume VIII, p. 9, column 3, without a
definition but with two quotations, one from 1958 about subliterate
societies in Tropical Africa and another from 1973 which says that
most of the population of Puerto Rico is subliterate. Another
advantage of online dictionaries. Apologies to all for wasting your


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
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The American Dialect Society -

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