HELP! I accidentally found a word fossil!

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 5 01:50:10 UTC 2013

A lot depends on how significant the discovery is, how quickly you want to get the discovery to be promulgated, whether your main concern is to get personal recognition or to ensure that the information is preserved for posterity, whether you want recognition in a particular community of people, etc.  The main options are as follows:

Post on ADS-L
Send finding to Oxford English Dictionary
Publish information on a blog or website
Get journalist interested in writing up your discovery
Publish in a scholarly journal such as American Speech or Notes and Queries
Publish an article or letter to the editor yourself in a newspaper or popular magazine

I should note that it is not that likely that a newbie would find quite a few earlier citations shedding new light on probable origins and refuting popular theories of a much-wondered-about word, so it may be that you are misunderstanding the evidence you have found or misunderstanding the existing state of scholarship.  If you want to share more information about the nature of your find, it would be easier to advise you.

Fred Shapiro

Nathaniel Sharpe [nts at BETHLEHEMBOOKS.COM]
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2013 6:05 PM
Subject: HELP! I accidentally found a word fossil!

Hi everyone,

A few months ago I discovered one of my ancestors being called a naughty
name in an old newspaper Black List. Wanting to know more about this
common epithet I looked up its history and learned that the earliest OED
reference was from 12 years after my forefather was so unjustly slandered!
Since then I've used my experience as a genealogist to uncover quite a
few early instances of this much-wondered-about word. The evidence I've
found sheds new light on probable origins, as well as refuting other
popular theories.
But where do I go from here? I would love to share what I've found but
would like to do so in the most effective manner, and to the right
audience. Should I sum up my discoveries in an article and try to submit
it to a magazine? Should I self-publish on a blog? Should I share it on
this list?
I know these are all rather subjective questions, but as I am a n00b is
this field I thought I would make an appeal to your collective wisdom.

Let me know what you think,


The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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