Erin McKean asks for help collecting words for “The Dictionary”

January 9, 2009 — 2 Comments

A long time ago (in blog years) I wrote a post entitled: You won’t find any snarky, grammar/spelling Nazis here, in which I attempt to encourage you to write without worrying too much about stumbling over all those silly and often confusing rules and conventions.

Then, as sort of a disclaimer, I wrote another post entitled: das wiked. buh yo! u wanna get tada nxt levl? wateva, in which I dialed it back a bit.

And now I would like to share with you a TED talk by the cutest presenter I’ve seen on TED to date. Erin McKean is one of the youngest editors of a big five dictionary. Her official job title is lexicographer–a person who monitors and records uses of language. And my first impression of her is that she’s adorable–in a smart geeky kind of way.

Now, it’s estimated that there are about 540,000 words in the English dictionary–about 5X the amount that existed when Shakespeare was alive.

So Ms. McKean wants to put a a whole new definition on “The Dictionary.” But I won’t spoil it for you. Watch the video. Then let me know–what do you think? Should we let just anybody play? If we do, are we just setting ourselves up for something like this? Ultimately, would that be a bad thing?

Alright, that’s enough. 3 posts in 3 days. I’ve got to go type up the abstract for my master’s action research project.

Chris Wondra


2 responses to Erin McKean asks for help collecting words for “The Dictionary”

  1. Just curious: what exactly do you think her cuteness and adorableness has to do with, well, anything?

    And, for the record, I think Michael Pollan is pretty adorable, too.

    I don’t think her cuteness or adorableness have anything to do with anything other than it was a personal observation. I associate those things with “fresh” and “fun” and “spunky.” But like I said–personal opinion. Sometimes I write personal observations/opinions in my blog. Feel free to observe those comments’ irrelevance.

    Why? Would you rather I not share that I think she’s cute/adorable? Are those comments inappropriate somehow. Did I cross some line?

    I knew someone would ding me on that.


  2. What are you doing for your research project? What school?

    My action research question: “What effect does brain based gender differentiation have on motivation in my classroom.”

    School: St. Mary’s University in Winona MN.

    I plan to share much of my research, including annotated bibliography, review of literature, research plan, and data analysis on my other blog, Think, Thank, Thunk ( soon. If that sort of thing interests you.


Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>