Linked by Michael L. Love on Mon 3rd Nov 2003 19:19 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives The GNU-Darwin Distribution is a free operating system and a popular source of free software for Mac OS X and Darwin-x86 users, but it is also a platform for digital activism. Founded in November of 2000, the Distribution has the stated goal of bringing software freedom to computer users of every stripe, and vigilantly defending digital liberties.
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Language And Dictionaries...
by BOFHelsinki on Tue 4th Nov 2003 09:36 UTC


"There is a difference between words that are part of a language and words that are names. You find the former dictionaries, and the latter in encyclopedias."

Say what? I hope you don't suggest that dictionaries and encyclopedias *define* language. They just reflect it, and they are always slightly late. The most well-known English dictionaries had a reality check and turned from prescriptive to descriptive already in the Middle Ages... And if you read the Foreword/Introduction chapter in one of the major dictionaries, it'll tell you the authors din't even imagine they could contain all of a language there. Grammar changes slowly, words change more quickly, meanings are very lively indeed -- a dictionary is just a snapshot at one point of time.

And you have a sligthly odd distinction between dictionaries and encyclopedias. Dictionaries do contain a lot of names; and everything in an encyclopedia is part of a language. You are better off saying that a dictionary describes (or just helps understand) words, whereas an encyclopedia describes things and concepts.

Language, every living language out there (unlike, say, Latin), is a live thing. An open source project of its speakers. Even the above mentioned French -- that's why the French Academy has to work double-time to keep at least the writing in an ancient, semi-obsolete form... which isn't all bad. (Too bad Caxton screwed up English by not looking forward, or even aside, but only back when he heavily contributed to the fixing of English spelling. The language had just gone through immense changes, but he chickened out.)

(Just sayin' all this because your post was ambiguous to me on what you meant there. And to kill time, too.)