December 05, 2003

Most def

Jon Delfin comes through again, pointing out a swell article in Slate that rates college dictionaries. (An observation: I see that all the dictionaries are "college dictionaries" except for Merriam-Webster's, which is a "collegiate dictionary". Fancy!)

So here's the bit of the article that really hit home for me:

One of the primary differences among dictionaries is the extent to which they try to steer you away from disputed uses (Oxford American's "Frequency of misuse has not changed the fact that the spelling sherbert and the pronunciation/sher'bert are wrong and should not be considered acceptable variants" is at one end of the spectrum, and the laissez-faire attitude of Merriam-Webster's "sherbet/sher'bet/ also sherbert/-bert/" is at the other.)

(Sorry, I don't know how to make a proper schwa in html. But you get the idea.)

I grew up hearing "sherbet" as "sherbert" (although I have never spelled it that way, or, for that matter, ever seen it spelled that way except in dictionary entries like the ones above), and once I learned that it was officially not supposed to be pronounced that way, I became somewhat self-conscious about it, even though pronouncing it "sher-bit" just sounds completely weird to me. This is why I looooove the fact that the snootifying of frozen desserts has given us...sorbet. No controversy there. "Sor-bay". Aaaah. So refreshing.

As for the dictionary ratings, as a member of the National Puzzlers' League, I was, of course, pulling for the Merriam-Webster Collegiate, since that is our official dictionary of record...but you'll have to read the article to see how the competition turns out. Or at least click on the link and scroll down to the bottom.

Posted by Francis at 11:05 AM

i dont noe wat the hell this is about but i jus wana see the actor Most DEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lauren at August 3, 2004 09:52 PM