[I was looking for info on Anne Soukhanov, a legendary lexicographer who edited several major dictionaries, and stumbled on this article re-posted from the Washington Post website's Archives.]
By Linton Weeks
June 28, 2001
When the 1,728-page Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary appears in bookstores next month, "it will start the Third World War of Dictionaries," says its top American editor, Anne Soukhanov.
"It will shake things up," says Michael Agnes, editor in chief of Webster's New World dictionaries.
The dueling lexicographers may be right. We could be on the verge of an all-out melee, with a handful of book-publishing bruisers fighting for lucrative desk space among students, teachers and office workers. Among the combatants: Random House, Merriam-Webster and American Heritage.
[This article originally published on Chicago Manual of Style Shop Talk website.]
Peter Sokolowski is editor at large at Merriam-Webster, where he works on the Word of the Day podcast, Ask the Editor videos, and short articles about word trends and etymologies (which he also presents on Twitter). In addition to attending professional and academic conferences to talk about dictionaries, he conducts workshops for teachers of English as a second language, serves as pronouncer for spelling bees around the world, and is a substitute jazz host for New England Public Radio. (We also hear he plays a mean jazz trumpet.)
Here he talks with Shop Talk editor Carol Fisher Saller.
CFS: Recently I was lucky enough to hear you speak about what lexicographers can deduce from the words people look up at Merriam-Webster.com. You gave examples of how a political or celebrity event can cause certain “lookups” to spike—such as the word emaciated when Michael Jackson died. Later I saw your tweet about the spiking of canonize and homily when Pope Francis visited the US. I believe you said that more than a billion words a year are looked up at the M-W Dictionary website and apps. What I’d like to know is, how do you keep an eye on a billion lookups? What kind of tools do you have and how do you use them?
Here's an enjoyable, brief article from the Merriam-Webster website, about Peter Mark Roget and the creation of his famous Thesaurus.
More than just a collection of related words—Peter Mark Roget intended his Thesaurus to be a classification of all knowledge
by Joshua Kendall
Though nearly everyone is familiar with the Roget’s Thesaurus, few people know anything about Peter Mark Roget, the eminent 19th century physician, physiology expert, mathematician, inventor, writer, editor and chess whiz—and what motivated him to write his immortal book.
Roget was obsessed with symmetry. The 1852 Thesaurus divvied 1,000 concepts into six Linnaean classifications.
We tend to think of a thesaurus as a collection of synonyms and antonyms. But Roget’s is essentially a reverse dictionary. With a dictionary, the user looks up a word to find its meaning. With Roget’s, the user start with an idea and then keeps flipping through the book until he finds the word that best expresses it. The organization of the book reflects the unique intelligence of the polymath that created it.
Man, I had been on such a roll for awhile, as far as blogging goes. I was writing about Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, the Bible, my thoughts on the UMC General Conference, the beginning of Lent. And now, here I am...it's almost Palm Sunday, and I haven't blogged for weeks!
The problem is, I have so many interests (Shakespeare, the Bible, Sherlock Holmes, literature, music, language, and much more), I find it difficult to stick with any one of those things for more than a week or so. I've done this for a long time: I get really interested in one thing for a short time: I'll research that one thing, I'll dig through my library, looking for everything I have that deals with that one thing. And I'll often blog, so I can share my thoughts about that one thing with the World Wide Web. And then the next thing comes along...
This is why I haven't taken up blogging as any kind of money making endeavor. At this point in my life, at least, I lack the discipline to be consistent in my attention to any one subject. And yet, I always seem to come back to it after awhile! Here I am, typing my thoughts while I enjoy a cup (or two) of coffee at Star Bagel in Nashville. I wish I could harness my interests enough to make blogging a sustained hobby, rather than a sporadic whim. (Is "sporadic whim" redundant? I think it may be.)
This next week and some change is going to be super busy, so I probably won't hit the "blogosphere" much in the near future, but maybe a little later I can figure out a schedule of some kind, that would enable me to sustain a few of my blogs on different subjects. We shall see.
On this day, the Special Session of the UMC General Conference is meeting to determine the way forward on their policies concerning human sexuality: specifically, whether or not to ordain openly gay clergy, and whether or not to recognize same-sex marriage. The Collect below is from today’s Morning Prayer on the website methodistprayer.org.
COLLECT OF THE DAY
who alone can bring order
to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity:
give your people grace
so to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, among the many changes of this world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed
where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
And here’s one from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, today’s Morning Prayer service:
A Prayer for All Conditions of Men: (Sun, Wed, Fri)
O GOD, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted, or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [* especially those for whom our prayers are desired;] that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities; giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Several years ago, I stumbled on a sketch comedy show from byuTV (the broadcasting arm of Brigham Young University) called Studio C. Over the past couple years, the show has become a favorite in our family. This video is just a small example of the hilarity Studio C has provided us...
Just a few months ago, the ten original cast members of Studio C (Matt Meese, Jason Gray, Mallory Everton, Whitney Call, Stephen Meek, Natalie Madsen, Stacey Harkey, James Perry, Adam Berg, and Jeremy Warner) announced that they were leaving byuTV to start their own online comedy channel: JK! Studios. They recently released the first of their new shows, called Loving Lyfe. Here's the first episode...
If you like comedy that's fun for the whole family, you really should check these guys out!
Several years ago, I stumbled across this article from Aish.com, a Jewish website. I thought it was a pretty good summary of the differences between Jewish and Christian perspectives on Jesus. Here it is...
One of the most common questions we receive at Aish.com is: “Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus?” Let’s understand why ― not in order to to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.
Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
Over the past several years, I've tried different things to keep my blogging simple, while still leaving myself enough flexibility to pursue the interests about which I feel led to write. To that end, for quite some time I tried to consolidate all my blogging down to a single blog, here at CoryHowell.net. I figured I could blog about all of the different things in which I was interested right, call it "Corybanter," just as I used to call my first blog on Posterous. (I still miss how easy things were in the Posterous days.) Recently I've changed my mind...again.
I recently got interested in Sherlock Holmes again, so I revived my Sherlock Holmes blog: Baker Street Babble. That one lives here at Weebly, where CoryHowell.net also resides.
I also write about Shakespeare from time to time, over on a Tumblr blog entitled Willy Wigglestick. I've been pretty active on that one lately as well.
Speaking of Shakespeare, I also have what I call a "mini-blog" on Medium.com, that I call Bites of Bard. I'm not sure it's a great title, but it's where I share some of my favorite Shakespeare quotes. It's a nice, simple site that lends itself to a quick sharing of a quote.
I recently discovered that my old Corybanter blog on Tumblr was also a good place for sharing a quick quote or link. It's a little easier than putting together a complete post with a lot of text, which I still tend to do right here on Weebly. So even though I had shut that blog down awhile back, I've been reviving it a bit, using it for quick stuff.
Then there's Dallas: The Poetry of Alice K. Howell. This is where I've been transcribing poems that my Grandma Howell wrote back in the 1930s. I have a little black notebook (that's actually my dad's) full of my grandmother's poetry, much of which was published in newspapers in the Oakland, CA area.
I have another one on Medium.com, that I write on from time to time: it's called Bible and Prayer Book. I haven't posted anything there in awhile, but in the past I've used it to jot down thoughts from Bible study based on The Book of Common Prayer. Oh, and speaking of the Bible, I also have a blog here at Weebly called The Bible Bookshelf Blog. I write there from time to time about different versions of the Bible, mostly in English. (I mean, I write the posts in English, but some of the Bibles I cover are not in English.)
That's pretty much it...for now. I have a couple of other blogs that I've started and not kept up. I won't bother linking to them at the moment. I may end up consolidating again sometime in the future, or I may start new blogs somewhere else. Who knows? I just keep writing whatever comes to mind. Thanks for reading.
A couple years before their famous "unmasking," KISS released one of the least successful records of their entire career: Music from "The Elder," a concept album for a movie project that never materialized. Funny thing, though, I really like the record. It's a bit like progressive rock, and completely like the rest of KISS's work. Anyway, below is the video of the only American single from the album: "A World Without Heroes." You can click on the YouTube link to the album to hear the rest of the record.
(adj.) wild and frenzied; from Greek κορυβαντες (Korybantes)