At the University of Minnesota, a linguistics professor is racing against his own mortality to finish a dictionary that will explain the origins and history of some of the most mysterious words in the English language. If he completes it, it will be the second time any language has had its linguistic history documented in this way. The trouble is, Anatoly Liberman is 74, and he thinks he needs at least another decade to finish his dictionary.
As he dug further, Liberman discovered that about 1,000 common English words -- mooch, nudge, man, girl, boy, frog, oat, witch and skedaddle among them -- seemed to be highly confused or all but untraceable, as if they magically appeared in English, pouf!
"It was like finding all these waifs of English who run around with dirty T-shirts and no shoes and no one takes care of them," says Liberman. "And suddenly I wanted to build a nice, warm orphanage for the parentless words, for the boys and girls and heifers too."
It would be a new kind of word-origin dictionary, one focusing on the most problematic, misunderstood words in English. Liberman knew right away it was a magnificent, massive project that could take 30 years or longer to complete.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Getting In the Last Word
Image: Some rights reserved by Muffet
I’ve had quite a few fun afternoons playing with dry ice from making spooky fog in the kitchen to exploding plastic bottles in the yard. But I’ve never had the opportunity to pour hot lava over dry ice. In this video, the lava is 1400 °C and the dry ice is -78C°. So cool! And […]
A Boston University team have developed an acoustic, 3D-printed metamaterial whose topology is such that it reflects 94% of human-audible sound; the researchers' demonstration involves inserting a ring of this stuff in a PVC pipe and blasting a speaker down one end: light and air emerges from the other end, but sound does not.
Scientists Lior Appelbaum and David Zada in Israel publish new proof that sleep serves to help our brains repair damage.
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]
Big systems need tight security – and the experts who can implement it. Cisco Networking Systems are the go-to providers for network infrastructure, but maintaining it takes a lot of up-to-date knowledge. If you want that knowledge right from the source, there’s an online course that can get you certified painlessly: The Foundational Cisco CCNA […]
Computer slowing down? There are a ton of reasons why that might be, especially if your unit has a few years on it. Junk files and programs can accumulate over time, some even left over from otherwise uninstalled software. This virtual debris can slow your PC down dramatically, but there’s a surprisingly quick fix. Lauded […]