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Media: NYTimes: Dr. Johnson's Revolution

Submitter: Karen Chung

Submitter Email: karchung@ntu.edu.tw
Linguistic Field(s): Lexicography

Subject Language(s): English

Media Body: The New York Times Editorials/Op-Ed July 2, 2005

Dr. Johnson's Revolution
By Jack Lynch

...Johnson approached each entry with the same overarching question: What
does a word mean? You can answer this question many ways. You can turn to
Latin roots, consult a committee of authoritative scholars, or follow
logical principles about things like double negatives.

But Johnson's answer was simpler: a word means whatever the best writers
say it means. He was convinced that no one - no emperor, no king and
certainly no dictionary writer - had the authority to rule on meanings. Our
language is the common property of all who have used it, and meanings come
not from fiat but from precedent. ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/opinion/02lynch.html


Karen Chung
http://ccms.ntu.edu.tw/~karchung/
http://lists.topica.com/lists/phonetics/
Issue Number: 16.2072
Date Posted: July 02, 2005

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