Monday, November 21, 2005


So, i'm teaching my eight year old how to use a dictionary. One of his books has the word gesticulate, so this was an example. One dictionary has to use gestures to help express ones meaning. Pardon me, but isn't gestures a form of the same root word? That's circular. So we looked up gestures, and got movement of the body to express ideas. So, gesticulate could have been movement of the body to express ones meaning. How hard is that?

So, then we looked up desperate, and got rash or violent because of despair. And despair is without hope. So, the entry could have been rash or violent because of hopelessness.

And it wasn't just one dictionary. It is as if all dictionaries are largely copied from each other. The first dictionary was poor because Daniel was pressed for time. He had to get the first edition out get make any money from it, and didn't have time to improve the entries. Later editions kept them because, well, it was good enough for the previous edition.

Feh. The status quo ensures mediocrity at best. I'm having a hard time selling the dictionary idea to my eight year old.

No comments: