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Re: [ontolog-forum] Artificial languages becoming "natural"

To: Duane Nickull <dnickull@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 14:08:12 -0600
Message-id: <p06230911c2161bf8c63f@[]>
>I think we used to give that decision to Webster's dictionary for english.    (01)

Webster's??!! Not on my side of the Atlantic. If you have to have a 
single source, it would be the OED.    (02)

>If enough uses of a word could be documented, it got added.  This was done
>by a committee.  I remember the big fuss when the definition of "google" was
>expanded to include its' use as a verb.    (03)

Proprietary words like xerox and google used as verbs introduce legal 
issues which go beyond ordinary linguistic criteria and raise the 
fuss volume.    (04)

>Even now, we use the term "ontology" and variances of it that are not
>recognized in the dictionary.  My spell checker software does not like me
>referring to several of them as "ontologies" or "ontology's".    (05)

That latter is a mistake in any version of English, unless you think 
that ontologies own things.    (06)

>If enough people spell the word "modelling" with two "l's" as the queen of E
>would have it, when does that become the accepted norm?    (07)

Your question points directly to a continuing (and acrimonious) 
debate between 'descriptive' and 'proscriptive' linguistics. 
According to the former, the whole idea of an "accepted norm" is 
meaningless. Languge is what people say, end of story. If they say 
'aint' instead of 'isnt', then nobody is right or wrong, accepted or 
infra-dig, normal or abnormal. They are just speaking different 
dialects (if a native speaker of one can't understand the other, then 
they might count as different languages).    (08)

Pat    (09)

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