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

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Apr 29 2002 - 13:45:11 EDT

At 16:29 +0100 2002-04-29, William Overington wrote:
>Michael Everson wrote as follows.
>>The New Oxford gives "font" as the primary spelling and lists (Brit.
> >also fount). In the IT world, nobody uses "fount". Rather like
> >"program" which is ubiquitous for software, while "programme" remains
> >for broadcasting and printed fliers.
>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.

That's right, and by listing "fount" as a secondary "also" form it
shows that even in European English "fount" is not very common.

>I always use the spelling "program" when referring to software and
>"programme" when referring to a television programme. I think that many
>people in England do that, it is as if they are two entirely different words
>that happen to sound the same!

I pointed out that that

>For the avoidance of doubt for an international audience, the Oxford English
>Dictionary is the twenty volume set with full etymological information.
>There are also other dictionaries, typically one volume, in the same range
>of dictionaries, of various types.

I was citing the New Oxford Dictionary of English, published 2001.

>The 20 volume set seems to be widely
>available in many (all or almost all?) public libraries in England. It is a
>very valuable facility to be able to go into a public library and use such a
>comprehensive etymological dictionary. Does the twenty volume Oxford
>English Dictionary tend to be available on the shelves of many public
>libraries in other parts of the world please?

It was in the University of Arizona library in the early 1980s, if
that is indicative at all.

Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***

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