Quote of the Day
My job involves searching for 'lost' quotations - that is, trying to find out who came up with a quotable saying that lingers in someone's mind and which they wish to use for their own purpose and which they cannot find in conventional dictionaries of quotation.
At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammars and dictionaries are excellent for distraction.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
I'm very sensitive to the English language. I studied the dictionary obsessively when I was a kid and collect old dictionaries. Words, I think, are very powerful and they convey an intention.
My desk is like a 'U,' so I have my computer and lots of dictionaries because I write in Spanish and I live in English.
I have always loved the fluidity of language - delighting in dialects, dictionaries, slang and neologisms.
People are under the impression that dictionaries legislate language. What a dictionary does is keep track of usages over time.
Spellings are made by people. Dictionaries - eventually - reflect popular choices.
I love learning about different dialects and I own all sorts of regional and time-period slang dictionaries. I often browse through relevant ones while writing a story. I also read a lot of diaries and oral histories.
Greek was very much a live language, and a language still unconscious of grammar, not, like ours, dominated by definitions and trained upon dictionaries.
I spoke Spanish when I was three, and then Maltese. I love dictionaries. I like foreigners. My dad moved every year before I was 14, and I learnt to like abroad. I'm not scared of change.
Alphabetical order had to be invented to help people organize the first dictionaries. On the other hand, we may have reached a point where alphabetical order has gone obsolete. Wikipedia is ostensibly in alphabetical order, but, when you think about it, it's not in any order at all. You use a search engine to get into it.
Basic dictionaries no longer belong on paper; the greatest, the 'Oxford English Dictionary,' has nimbly remade itself in cyberspace, where it has doubled in size and grown more timely and usable than ever.
Dictionaries are always fun, but not always reassuring.
M. F. K. Fisher
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