Dictionaries and the Bending of Language
Through the etymology of words, the OED exhibits the shape-shifting nature of language across time, reflecting how it bends to the task of describing our evolving human experience. But is all change good? What is the role of the dictionary in reporting, recording, and refereeing language variation and change?
Linguist, political commentator and author of The Power of Babel and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, John McWhorter talks with genre-busting author of House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielewski about whether dictionaries support or inhibit the idiosyncratic use of language as a means of creative expression.
Presented as part of the Library Foundation’s project, Hollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.
Why do programs fill so quickly?
ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.
Where does ALOUD take place?
Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.
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Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?
We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.