(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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Entries in new words (2)


Feel free to "retweet" this post...

Yes, "retweet" is totally a word—so says the Oxford English Dictionary in the new, centennial 12th edition of its Concise English Dictionary, which includes some 400-plus new entries largely drawn from a pool of Internet-related slang and social networking terminology.

The "makini." The OED says it's a thing.At first I was going to ignore this story, but it has since been picked up everywhere from CNN to Rolling Stone to the Hindustan Times. It is indeed the most popular word-related story of the week. Language enthusiasts may feel either a sense of betrayal or relief at the idea that the OED has made the latest slang somehow more "official"as CBS's Tech Talk blog reported, "Writers and editors no longer have to feel guilty for using words like 'retweet' and 'sexting' in earnest."

But it's all good. The purpose of dictionaries since Samuel Johnson's time (and tome) has been to document the language as it is, not define it (only the words within). And there's nothing wrong with the opportunity to learn new words. Two of my favorites from the list of new entries are words I'd never heard (not surprising, since they're both fashion-related):

mankini: n. (pl. mankinis) a brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

jeggings: pl. n. tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.


Click to read more ...


...and 'rithmetic is probably important, too.

Recently, I'd been feeling guilty that I was not one of those dads (or, at the time, a dad-to-be) who felt the need to read to my child (that is, child-to-be) while she was still in the womb. It's not that we didn't think she could hear us—we knew from the way she would start kicking whenever there was loud music, particularly music with a heavy, fast beat,* that she could and would respond to voices and other sounds.

*In fact, that she is outside of the womb, one of the sounds that can be almost guaranteed to calm her is any song by Lady Gaga, played at a slighty higher-than-pleasant volume. We'll see how long this lasts.

So I was relieved to see that now, almost two months post-womb, we still haven't missed the real opportunity to teach our daughter through words: "...new educational research shows that writing is as fundamental to a child’s development as reading." A new book, Your Child's Writing, by Pam Allyn, recommends which steps to take at each age, from starting a "word jar" with your child's favorite words to exposing your child to a variety of writing styles, and then—eventually—letting her "develop her own writing identity."

Nothing, fortunately, about which MFA program to enroll her in.