Why (some) people use dictionaries: "time frame" or "timeframe"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 5 18:26:16 UTC 2012

Ben Zimmer's well-written and illuminating article in the New York
Times included the following comment from Kory Stamper, an associate
editor at Merriam-Webster. (She presents entertaining and worthwhile
video commentary at the website, too.)

[Begin excerpt]
This view of The Dictionary as the ultimate arbiter of our shared
language is one that dictionary editors themselves are quick to
disown. "Lexicographers do not sit in sleek conference rooms and make
your language," Ms. Stamper wrote on her blog. "That’s what you - the
reading, writing, speaking public - do. Language is democratic, not
oligarchic. That’s where the real glamour is."
[End excerpt]

Perhaps the words "dictionary" and "lexicographer" are themselves
subject to these processes. It seems possible that a word like
"dictionary" may have different meanings in different communities of
speakers. Here is an example:

Comments at the Merriam-Webster website under the entry for the word: time frame


[Begin excerpt]

Kymberli Janek · California State University, Chico
I was looking up the word to see if it was spelled as one word or two?
May 10, 2011 at 7:13am

Alejandro Perez · Phoenix School of Law
it seems to be a mystery as to whether it is one word or two. Ugh.
Last minute editing. :-)
October 29, 2011 at 11:27am

June Jones · Liberty University
I was trying to find out if it is one word or two.
May 25, 2011 at 8:50am

Lynn Matthews · Uh, a lot of work at CH2M HILL
Folks, if it's not in the dictionary, it's not a word. I was looking
for the same thing, but found my answer.
December 21, 2011 at 5:34pm

[End excerpt]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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