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Wordable vs Description Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 3:57:28 AM

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This may seem like a vocabulary topic; however, as it has to do with the propagation and/or acceptance of neologisms, actually the evolution of language I thought I'd post it here.

The first time I used, wordable, I'm pretty sure was on this forum and at the time I was surprised to find out it was actually a word. Most spell checkers reject it, and even TFD says it is not a word; however, it is in the Oxford Living Dictionary.


So my first question is, does that make it officially a word?

Well, I suppose my zeroth question is what is the Oxford Living Dictionary? Why is there a distinction from the OED, other than it is free and the OED requires a $90.00 subscription? (usually $295.00 but they are celebrating their 90th anniversary).

My second question is, consider the following phrases:
"...it was an amazing experience beyond description."
"...it was an amazing experience beyond wordable."
Do those two phrases convey the same thing? To me, they seem slightly different.

Oho! the plot thickens, while wordable is considered a word by the Oxford living dictionary, wordable is not.

On the other hand, unwordable is in Merriam-Webster's while wordable is not.

Finally the Oxford Living Dictionary cites the first usage of wordable occurring in the late 19th century. So it seems to me that if the word, which in the actual definition of the term is a meme, was truly an adaptive mutation of language then it would be more widespread.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
HFJJ
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 5:00:37 AM

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Do a Google-search for both "wordable" and "unworkable"!
HFJJ
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 5:04:33 AM

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Sorry, damn auto-correction. Please read: "u-n-w-o-r-d-a-b-l-e".
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 5:08:09 AM

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HFJJ wrote:
Do a Google-search for both "wordable" and "unworkable"!


Hello HFJJ, I'm not sure you understood the intent of my post. I did do a number of searches on the two words, including Google which was what led to some of my questions.

Also, you might want to delete your duplicate posts, as well there should be an edit option available that would allow you to fix the autocorrect error, although I did understand that was what happened. I'm not sure how to access those options on the mobile app but they should be available.

ETA I see you found the delete function.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
taurine
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 5:55:28 AM

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Interesting question you have posited, Epiphileon.

I have never before heard about the word in question. However, it does not mean that it does not exist. Simply I had had no occasion to use it, or to create it in anticipation that a person I were speaking with would be ready to accept its usage. Its use may depend on the context and mutual understanding of intention amid group of people using it.
I may use as an example a word "doable". Let's imagine an advert where attractive woman in long white dress leaves her car going to meet a man. She may think that she looks so great that the man she would like to impress by her intellect in conjunction with her appearance would guarantee her "success". And in this context the word "doable" gains additional, quite funny meaning. Because she is doable. Because the man she wants to affect favorably could be of the same opinion.
But the word "doable" is in use for more than a hundred years, as indicated by a legal case Gordon v Gordon from 1895 year.

Regrettably I cannot find any reported use of the word "wordable". This may indicate that in the common law area this word was not used in a context of a debatable relationship between people leading to the courtroom. But there may be other instances where this word could be used, like on pages of a certain newspaper having a name in common with the capital of the U.S. state of North Dakota.

I think that a good, humorous advertisement which could use the word "wordable" would propagate it quickly.


Sas? Nic. Sassnitz. Rug, ja? Rugen. Telemark in Harzgerode.
Hope123
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 9:35:25 AM

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Epi,

You do come up with the most interesting questions. Applause

This list has 1478 words ending in able, but wordable is not on it. I have never heard of it and would have thought it was a typo. I would not have known how to use it until you contrasted it.

https://www.morewords.com/ends-with/able/

Wordable is not workable for me Whistle because for instance - somerhing is able to work, or able to absorb, but a word is not able to do anything. It needs a "doer" or an agent.




"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Romany
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 11:41:02 AM
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"It was not a wordable experience - it was sublime."
"The theory exists only in his head - it isn't even wordable."
"Writers start to get ideas for stories or concepts before they are even wordable."

Yeah. I reckon one could make a case for it.

As to what the " Oxford Living Dictionary" is? I'd not heard of it before, either. So I went looking and - probably like you - found it a rather suss search. Unlike other OED dictionaries, there seemed a suspicious lack of reference to it.Think

This "Review" of it isn't written by a British-speaker.The English emanating from the OED is. It doesn't enlighten one very much, does it? Seems very unclear - even obfuscatory?

Reviews for Oxford English Dictionary – Add-ons for Firefox (en-US) https://bit.ly/2AzePCG

Could it just be a name for a portal into the Oxford Learners Dictionary? As opposed to (as I understood it) the name of a new/different/seperate bona fide publication released by the OED?

Or have I totally misconstued?
RuthP
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 12:28:53 PM

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I, too, had wondered about the "Oxford Living Dictionary", because I had run into it searching words on line with "Oxford Dictionary" included to try to eliminate some of the . . . less productive . . . links one gets when searching for a definition. After noting this thread, I did a bit more investigating through the Oxford Dictionary on line web pages.

It appears the "Living Dictionary" is what is available on the web at no cost. Below, I'm posting (in order) the pages of the web site I went through to come to this conclusion. Note that none of them just flat-out say this. It's a deduction. Note also that I've not used the "Contact us" page to actually contact Oxford. I was thinking about it, but then the "Explore" link information and subsequent pages more or less convinced me I'd grasped what was happening.
Oxford.com
Oxford: Our products
Oxford: FAQs
Oxford: Contact us
Oxford: Explore
Oxford: The corpus
Oxford.com

Yep. It was winding up back where I had started with the English link from the "The corpus" page of "Explore" that convinced me that the "Oxford Living" is the free on line dictionary.
HFJJ
Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 12:36:43 PM

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I understand that in English, any expression can become a word and will be recognised as such if found on a book or a periodical. More so, if it’s used in written by a famous writer or journalist. The consecration comes once it appears included in the Oxford Dictionary. E.g. "smackable", used by James Joyce in Ulysses, and recorded on the OED.
In other languages, like Spanish, a word becomes such only after officially accepted by the Academy of the Language.
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2019 4:31:13 AM

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Thank you everyone for your input and research into the various questions I asked, it is much appreciated.

I like a particular connotation of "wordable", it rests in a knowledge of just what kind of black box language codification currently is within the mentality of humans. This has always been a very deep curiosity of mine, what exactly is it that is before words?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
RuthP
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2019 8:39:29 PM

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Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
HFJJ wrote:
I understand that in English, any expression can become a word and will be recognised as such if found on a book or a periodical. More so, if it’s used in written by a famous writer or journalist. The consecration comes once it appears included in the Oxford Dictionary. E.g. "smackable", used by James Joyce in Ulysses, and recorded on the OED.
In other languages, like Spanish, a word becomes such only after officially accepted by the Academy of the Language.

It's not quite as simple as you make it out to be.

To be added to a standard dictionary, like the OED, or like Webster's (an AE dictionary), a word must be in general usage. It is not sufficient to have only one published use. The citation the OED provides is for the earliest located use of the word. By the time it gets into the dictionary, it will have been used many, many, many more times.

Online dictionaries are different. Some, like Dictionary.com aggregate definitions (antonyms and synonyms, too) from other dictionaries. Some, like The Urban Dictionary try to gather the most up-to-the-minute casual, slang, or shocking/scandalous/obscene usages.

If you are interested in how words come into an English dictionary, the OED has been written about extensively. Three good books you could try are:
The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Peter Gilliver (He worked at the OED as a lexicographer.)
The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester and by the same author
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary This one was originally titled The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 11:37:31 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
This has always been a very deep curiosity of mine, what exactly is it that is before words?

Good question.
I would say "the concept". People (a grave generality, if ever there was one) tend to 'think things through' in words (some people more than others) - but there IS an idea, a concept.

This is all rather subjective, so I have no scientific proof.
However, I can say that I have had ideas which have never been put into words - even 'in my mind'.
Not 'unwordable' but 'unworded'.

I can't really see any idea as totally unwordable - indescribable is the word I'd use.

To take an extreme. I'm sure the Special Theory existed in Einstein's mind before he figured out the words to describe it - and he had the idea of the General Theory ten years before he could put it into words. Even in its simplest form, his description was a small book (shorter and more understandable than many of the interpretations of his work, but a book nevertheless).

These were concepts in his mind well before they were even a series of words in his mind.

Any student who is struggling to understand something and who then has "a Eureka moment" knows the difference between 'knowing the data about something and what that data says the thing is' and 'knowing the thing'.
Of course, this is the other way around - the words become before conceptual understanding - but it is possible to create a new understanding before the words. It's just not so common.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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