Endangered words
Posted: 23 September 2008 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Did anyone else catch this article in the Times Online, about Collins’ plans to delete little-used words from its latest dictionaries?  I heard it on the BBC radio when I was half-asleep, but caught the word “fubsy” which is one of the words threatened with expulsion and paid some attention, since “fubsy” was a word I knew.  Anyway, you can vote to have a word retained, if you feel strongly about it.  OTOH, there will always be the OED.

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Posted: 23 September 2008 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This is news? It sounds like standard lexicographic practice to me. If it is newsworthy, I can think of many other fascinating stories:

“Social Security Administration Stops Sending Checks to People Who Died Last Month”

“New Edition of Biology Text Has the Latest Science”

“Video Store Sells Excess Copies of Last Year’s Releases”

(Although I did get a kick out of seeing the word agrestic on the list; it is the name of the cookie-cutter, Southern California town in the TV show Weeds. I had always assumed the writers made the name up; it sounds like something a marketing department would come up with.)

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Posted: 23 September 2008 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s not news, it’s marketing.  The Times is drumming up interest in its corporate stablemate Collins.

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Posted: 23 September 2008 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Ah, that would explain it, then.  Clever of them to get the Poet Laureate involved and some free publicity from the BBC.

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Posted: 23 September 2008 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Murdoch works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

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Posted: 23 September 2008 11:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The magazine “Private Eye” for years ran a column of readers’ contributions of plugs for Sky satellite TV masquerading as news items in Murdoch’s newspapers.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And if it’s worthless words you need there will always be wwftd.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I guess the news is that you can vote on it.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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"it is the name of the cookie-cutter, Southern California town in the TV show Weeds.”

Does the “cookie-cutter” there refer to the fact that the town is small?

EDIT: WP tells me “The term “cookie-cutter”, when used as a noun or adjective, can also mean “lack of originality or distinction” [1], a reference to the uniformity that results from the use of a cookie cutter.” I guess that is what is meant in this case.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Exactly. One of the themes of the show (or at least the first two seasons) was the appalling uniformity of suburbia. The show’s theme song is “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds--ironically performed by a variety of artists in a wide array of musical styles.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The fictional Agrestic was (it was pretty much completely burned to the ground at the end of season 3) what is known as a planned community.  The entire town was laid out and built by a single land developer.  The houses are all similar in style and frequently the shopping areas as well.  Because the houses are built to attract a certain demographic, the population is unusually uniform - there are no poor or rich people on the next street over, etc.
Usually only a limited palette of colors and/or landscaping is allowed - even after you own your house, you have to stick to the plan due to deed restrictions (and often pressure from the neighborhood association).  When I lived in Houston many years ago, McDonald’s was building a store in a planned community suburb of Houston called The Woodlands and fought to be able to have a McDonald’s style building and the Golden Arches(tm) on a tall pole as usual (no signs on poles, no signs over a certain height, no signs too close to the street) - they lost.

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