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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

GEL 2006 - Erin McKean

Erin is a lexicographer and quite a witty one at that. She works as the Editor-in-chief, The New Oxford American Dictionary; editor, Verbatim magazine .
She said that English is a democracy. Every use of a word is a vote for that word. Word usage needs to be tracked in the "running" context. A lot of the early tracking was simply the word in the sentence or paragraph clipped directly from the newspaper or magazine or book and attached to an index card. In many cases, the source was not identified. The corpus is their database. A whole lot of data. A whole lot of words in their context.
She gave some examples of words and their usage by the numbers and how some of it does not make sense.
She writes on a blog, Dress A Day , which has nothing to do with her work on the dictionary.
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