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Dictionaries and the Bending of Language

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Mark Z. Danielewski, John McWhorter, Howard A. Rodman
In conversation with screenwriter and USC film professor, Howard A. Rodman
April 11, 2016

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 John McWhorter talks with genre-busting author Mark Z. Danielewski about whether dictionaries support or inhibit the idiosyncratic use of language as a means of creative expression. Also featuring Howard A. Rodman. This ALOUD program was presented as part of the Library Foundation’s project, Hollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary.

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