In the past several decades, the rapid growth of the internet and social media platforms have accelerated linguistic evolution. Words have been replaced and supplemented by emojis and the new words (such as the portmanteau "mansplaining") are able to spread faster than ever before. At the same time, technology has also reshaped how lexicographers research and document language. Andrew Dickson recently published this compelling and informative long-form essay in The Guardian that examines the history and future of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). At the heart of this essay are the ways in which technology has reshaped lexicography. To contextualize these recent changes, Dickson traces the history of the OED back to 1664, when England's Royal Society first formed a committee dedicated to "Improving the English Language." This committee sparked a series of dictionary projects, including one launched by Richard Chenevix Trench in 1857 that became affiliated with Oxford University in 1879. Dickson also chronicles the rise of the "corpus linguistics" movement in the 1960s, which emphasized how words evolve over time in society. To learn more, check out the full essay.
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