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Friday, July 07, 2006

 
Sign of the Geek
How do you know you are a certifiable language geek? You find yourself leaving the house with a handful of dictionaries. On purpose. At least, that's what happened to me earlier this week. Granted, two of them, the Spanish-English and Spanish-Spanish ones, were for the purpose of translating a Mexican air permit for my dad, but the other one was for... fun.

And fun it was! I had just gotten it that day in the mail, and I couldn't resist taking it with me to look at later. What dictionary am I talking about? The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English, by Grant Barrett, aka Double-Tongued Word Wrester. Essentially, it is a dictionary of modern slang terms. (A visit to the website will give you a good idea.) The words and definitions are funny enough by themselves, and caused me to spend about 15 minutes on the phone with the long-distance boy saying, "Pick a letter! Okay, here it is... One more... Oh, and this one!" The thing that struck me as a nice subtle addition to the humor was noticing where some of the citations came from, because really, there are just some newsgroups with ridiculous and, um, rather descriptive names. Really, seeing this dictionary, it's no wonder that Grant's reported to be one of the happiest lexicographers out there.

In short, I am having entirely too much fun with this dictionary. Even more than my classmates and I had in high school with the German-English dictionary that revealed the German language had an actual verb for "to murder with a chainsaw." (Not that I remember what it is, but we did work it into our assigned skit that day.)

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