Re: Towards a classification system for uses of the Private Use Area

From: John Cowan (
Date: Mon Apr 29 2002 - 13:56:22 EDT

William Overington scripsit:

> An interesting paradox concerning the Oxford English Dictionary is that many
> people regard it as stating what are the correct definitions of words. Yet
> the Oxford English Dictionary itself states something along the lines that
> it does not seek to say what are the correct definitions of words but simply
> reports the usages that people make of words. So, the system of what
> English words mean holds itself up by its bootstraps!

Actually, semantics is founded in what people do. But orthography is
more interesting, since dictionaries use published books to determine
the prevailing orthography, and publishers consult dictionaries to
determine it. This is indeed circular, but not viciously so: rather
it is a Hartree-Fock process.

John Cowan <>
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_

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