Harmless Drudge: Vocab Porn & Dictionary Banning
Posted: 23 January 2010 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

People look up naughty words in dictionaries! Horrors! Think of the children!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2010 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

A few years ago Van Dale announced a special edition of their dictionary of contemporary Dutch without “offensive” words. It was to be used in Dutch schools with a religious background. What was considered offensive was clearly defined by a group of elementary schools in Staphorst (heart of the Dutch Bible Belt). However, there was so much commotion about it that they canceled the project. In a press release they explained that they were asked for this publication and to them it was really not that different from the other specialized dictionaries in their delivery programme. So it was a matter of offer and demand (they were given a guaranteed order of 2.500 copies). The most important reason for them to still cancel it was that there objectivity was so publicly questioned.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2010 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

There’s an update on the dictionary banning story.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2010 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

Dictionaries won’t poison a child’s mind, but bad education will.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2010 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

There is also the famous (and almost certainly apocryphal) story of two elderly women who commended Samuel Johnson on excluding “naughty” words from his dictionary. His reply: “Oh, so you’ve been looking for them then.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3498
Joined  2007-01-29

Why “almost certainly” apocryphal?  Is there something especially dubious about this particular anecdote?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2010 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

It’s not documented, and it’s a little too pat. It has all the earmarks of a false quote. I did leave some wiggle room with “almost.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2010 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

I can remember coming across the word masturbation. I cannot recall the context but I must have known it was in some way taboo (and therefore didn’t ask my parents) because I looked it up in my Dad’s very old Concise Oxford Dictionary and it said ‘self abuse’ so I was none the wiser though I knew abuse was bad and in this way seeds of religiously-derived sexual guilt are sown.
Parents have to be idiots these days to think their kids can be protected from such words and concepts especially in dictionaries, the last place they would now look.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2010 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  329
Joined  2007-02-17

I thought I’d told this story before, but a search turned up nothing, so it might have been on another board.

When I was about eight, I read about rape in the newspapers, but I didn’t know what it was. So I looked it up in the dictionary (Webster’s New World, I think). It defined it as ‘carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent’.

This wasn’t very enlightening, so I asked my mother. She told me it meant ‘knowledge of a woman without her consent’ – she’d obviously read the same dictionary, and couldn’t bring herself to say the word ‘carnal’.

I asked her if a woman bleached her hair, and didn’t want anyone to know (these were the Clairol days), and I found out, would that mean that I’d raped her. She told me not be be silly, and walked out.

I seem to remember that the entry to ‘sexual intercourse’ was equally unenlightening – I think it defined it as ‘coitus’, which was defined as ‘sexual intercourse’. There may have been more stages to the loop that I don’t recall, though.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 February 2010 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

Old dictionaries aren’t much help to the enquiring young mind regarding sinful sexual matters. Nor are parents, really, unless enlightened. I remember seeing a documentary when I was about 11 where a man described barrel-making (cooperism?) as the second oldest profession in the world (is this right?) so naturally I asked my father what the oldest was and he had simply no idea. Later I overheard him enlightenedly relaying our exchange to my mother.

Anything in the new OED on ‘self-abuse’ for masturbation and the history of this definition? Is it from a devout Biblical apologist or an early, and necessarily prudish, considering the times, lexicocrapher?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 February 2010 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

No, nothing newer in the OED than the 1989 second edition.

The term self-abuse dates to the early 18th century--the citation is from 1728 in Ephraim Chambers Cyclopedia, but it references earlier writers using the term. The use of abuse to mean violation or defilement--including but not necessarily sexual--dates to 1580 and the use of abuse to mean injury or wrong is even older. Self-pollution dates to 1626 and first appears in a legal context. None of these terms appear to be unique to religious contexts--but in the 16th-early 18th centuries you can’t get very far from religion.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 February 2010 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2007-06-14

The silliness continues, though the players now include some one might expect to be less…
{pausing to try to think of a nicer word than “stupid"}

I have a minor role at a web site that offers dictionaries, lots and lots of them, both monolingual and bilingual.
The owner created an application for a widely used portable device, the i- something or other.
While this device allows full access to the entire web site through the internet, some genius decided that
the i- something or other app could not be allowed because many of the dictionaries included, for lack of
a better term, “dirty words”.  This i- something or other allows people to purchase millions of copies of
so-called musical pieces, replete with enough “dirty words” to choke a hippo.

And the beat goes on…

Oh, by hook or by crook, the app censors were eventually persuaded to change their (narrow?) minds and allow the
download of the free application. Even stupidity has limits, at least outside the halls of Congress.

Profile