mcfear.

The Corpus in the Court: 'Like Lexis on Steroids' »

The explaining power of “the dictionary” is often invoked in arguments and opinions (with the behemoths, Webster’s New International and the Oxford English Dictionary, favored at the Supreme Court level), but even unabridged dictionary definitions can never encompass the variety of real-life contexts for words as they make their way in the world. For that you need a corpus. Corpus analysis has already transformed how dictionaries are being made, and now it is making a belated appearance in the courtroom.

languagehat.com: DRUM LANGUAGE. »

European explorers had been aware for a long time that the irregular rhythms of African drums were carrying mysterious messages through the jungle. Explorers would arrive at villages where no European had been before and find that the village elders were already prepared to meet them.

I can haz some new words for snow? »

New Words for Rawr

So how about that? In a language where we’ve welcomed crazy words like autochthonous and lingerie, surely a couple new words for snø (Norwegian) would be welcomed by winter’s journalistic zeitgeist. Let’s get to it. And maybe next time you hear someone talk about “117 words for snow” … maybe they’ll just be talking about English.