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What makes a word "real"?

I really enjoyed this 17-minute video by Anne Curzan, Language historian, and I thought you might, too.
 
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Good find, Tinny!
 
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Nothing much that I didn't know but it was very entertainingly presented. I enjoyed it and it made me wonder if anyone has ever written a science fiction story where there is a literal language police who go around executing people for using "decimate" or "hopefully" in ways that the "the language law" forbids.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Nah, they'd only kill every tenth offender. Big Grin
 
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What's a poor Prescriptivist to do?...
 
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Originally posted by haberdasher:
What's a poor Prescriptivist to do?...

Hide in your basement; a storm's a-comin'! Oh, sorry, that was from the National Weater Service, not Anne Curzan.
 
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a literal language police who go around executing people for using "decimate" or "hopefully" in ways that the "the language law" forbids.


I was just ruminating the other day, and wondered why the people who claim that decimate should only be used in its original, etymological sense, but give celibate a pass. The latter in Latin simply means unmarried and not sexually inactive.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Since you're in California, did the EPA fine you for ruminating and belching up methane? Big Grin "Ruminate" is yet another word whose meaning has extended, although its original meaning continues. But then, "Rumi-nate" might be to be indoctinated into the sayings of Rumi.

Oh, shuddup, Geoff!!!
 
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