Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mindless Friday Fun

This is fun. Oxford English Dictionary lets you save the words.

"The Oxford English Dictionary has launched something very charming and playful: a campaign to save forgotten words from obsolescence. As you move your mouse over the collage of words they call out for you to pick them, and when you click, a definition pops up, as well as an invitation to adopt it. I just adopted primifluous. I also learned that vitamin G was the original name for riboflavin. You can also sign up for the word of the day email program, and read handy suggestions about how to use these forgotten words in your day to day life (or in Scrabble). Adopt your own here."

Save the Words is the home site and I guarantee you can waste some excellent time here. I chose jussulent, because I liked the way it looked as I rolled my mouse over it.

Why is this important? Few of our students know what I am talking about when I say "study carrel." They have never heard the term. Today I suggested to a student that if she needed to concentrate and get away from her friends she should go to sit in one of the third floor study carrels. She gave me a blank look, snapped her gum, turned her head to follow my pointed finger and said "Oh, you mean those boxy things?"

Words matter. Vocabulary is changing quickly. Perhaps if we had evolved into more of a soup consuming culture instead of a burger/pizza culture jussulent would still be in use. Maybe some day, years from now, someone will say "Hey, did you know that they used to call the boxy things carrels?"

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