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Oxford English Dictionary Description - Essay Example

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This essay "Oxford English Dictionary Description" deals with two types of language resources that exist: prescriptive resources, that attempt to describe how language should be used to adhere to classical uses of that language, and descriptive resources that simply attempt to catalog the way language is…
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Oxford English Dictionary Description
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The word “d’Oh!” can be described as “Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly” and cites the cartoon The Simpsons in setting both its definition and its spelling (OED s.v. “D’oh”). A dictionary attempting to set rather than describe usage would be very unlikely to include a word made famous by a television cartoon.
Furthermore, the policy of the Oxford English Dictionary board itself describes the resource as descriptive rather than prescriptive. In its “Guide to the Third Edition of the OED” the board writes that “the Dictionary is intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive,” though the dictionary notes that it will indicate when usages have been popularly considered “incorrect” (OED Online). Noting a usage as being popularly “incorrect” does not make the resource prescriptive, however: it simply describes the popular usage of the word. Read More
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