On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:40:39 -0500, Delirium <delirium(a)hackish.org> wrote:
Disclaimer: I'm a moderate descriptivist, whereas
it seems you might be
at least a moderate prescriptivist (see [[en:prescription and
His arguments are very descriptivist in nature. The question is about
what to describe.
I think we ought to document neologisms if they have
been used by any
high-profile source (any major author, for example), or if they are used
by any verifiable subculture.
I disagree with the first at least. Some authors create neologisms
almost as a hobby. A few of their words will catch on and get wider
usage, most will not be used a second time even by themselves. We want
the first group, not the second.
I do agree that if I coin a word and my
friends use it, that doesn't count, so there has to be a judgment call
somewhere. A widespread neologism with specific connotations, like the
phrase "teh sukc", ought to be documented, though. Wikipedia's always
has as one of its strengths that it gets articles on new concepts before
almost anyone else, so it'd be a shame if Wiktionary didn't have similar
I don't think there's any disagreement about that. The disagreement
comes on the question on what is and what is not "widespread", on what
base this is decided and how the burden of proof is set.
They can of course be discussed neutrally--mention if
they're in other
major dictionaries or not, who uses them and to what extent, etc. But
we're not the language police...
What makes you think we're pretending to be? I can easily put forward
that same argument from the other side: Deciding whether words exist
should be done by the users of the language, not by us. We should
include words because they are in widespread use, not because our
contributors like them.