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  1. Do you agree that the Internet is degrading the language?
  2. Do you use the words like “defriend, newbie, troll”? Should they be included in the dictionaries?
  3. What is your attitude toward dictionaries? Do you agree that “we tend to treat as un-authored, as if they came from nowhere to give us answers about what words really mean”?
  4. How do editors create dictionaries? Why do they have to “gamble”?
  5. Do you think the words like ‘multi-slacking’ and ‘recombobulation’ have a right to exist?
  6. Are you bothered by language fads and language change or do you find it fun, interesting? Why?
  7. Why, according to the speaker, the language “is not in trouble”?

Recombobulation Area



a host of = a large number of something:

That, of course, raises a host of other questions, including, who writes dictionaries?

cranky = easily annoyed or upset (informal)

dorky = stupid or boring

Over the years, I have learned some great new slang this way, including «hangry,» which is when you are cranky or angry because you are hungry, and «adorkable», which is when you are adorable in kind of a dorky way…

show of hands = a vote in which people raise one of their hands to show that they support a suggestion

I’m going to do this as a show of hands: How many of you still regularly refer to a dictionary, either print or online?

faddish = fashionable for a short time

They have to gamble, because they want to appear cutting edge and catch the words that are going to make it, such as LOL, but they don’t want to appear faddish and include the words that aren’t going to make it, and I think a word that they’re watching right now is YOLO, you only live once.

to banish = to make someone or something go away; to get rid of someone or something

… a few weeks before our vote, Lake Superior State University issues its list of banished words for the year.

overlap = if one thing overlaps another, or the two things overlap, part of one thing covers part of the other

What is striking about this is that there’s actually often quite a lot of overlap between their list and the list that we are considering for words of the year, and this is because we’re noticing the same thing.

to come into prominence

prominence = the state of being important, well known, or noticeable

We’re noticing words that are coming into prominence.

quaint = strange and unusual in a charming way

These complaints now strike us as quaint, if not downright adorkable, but here’s the thing: we still get quite worked up about language change.

lenient = not as strict as expected when punishing someone or when making sure that rules are obeyed

… the Usage Panel, that trusted body of language authorities who is getting more lenient about this.