HD: Digital Dictionaries
Posted: 15 March 2013 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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There’s more to them than you might think.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Nice piece.  This is depressing but unsurprising:

Students, in particular, often don’t discriminate between sources. An undergraduate who just wants a quick definition is much more likely to turn to Dictionary.com than to the OED, and won’t see much difference between the two, says Michael Hancher, a professor of English at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, who organized a panel on digital dictionaries at this year’s Modern Language Association meeting.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a student who wants a quick definition to go to dictionary.com (which provides citations from multiple reputable print dictionaries [though also so not-so-reliable sources]) instead of the OED, especially if the word (or relevant sense) is relatively modern.

I’ve heard English faculty snort at a student who quoted an OED definition during an oral presentation; I didn’t quiz them about their reasons, but I suspect that they, like me, thought that she (the student) had made a choice based on what source sounded prestigious rather than what might provide the most up-to-date scholarship.

edited for typos

[ Edited: 15 March 2013 03:10 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 15 March 2013 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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True, but it’s the “won’t see much difference between the two” that I found depressing; I suspect they go to dictionary.com because it’s the first Google hit, and if the first hit were Urban Dictionary they’d use that just as happily.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The other thing, of course, is that unlike the OED, Dictionary.com is free online.

I suppose one good thing about dictionary.com is that it usually gives entries from a few different dictionaries, e.g. Collins, AHD and Random House.

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