Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Possible poorly chosen exemplary quotation in the OED

A relative from the left coast was going to visit my greater metro area on the third coast and wrote to me that she was going to do some museuming, noting that there is no such word. Red meat has no appeal; this was a downright red lentil to me. Of course it's a word!, I protested; you wordified it by using it as a word. It matters not whether it's been dictionaried.

And then, just for the sake of completeness, I OED'd it. To my dismay, museum is listed as a verb. An intransitive verb, meaning to visit museums (n.). Here is one of the three exemplary quotations in the OED:

1899 H. James Let. 2 Apr. (1984) IV. 101, I breakfasted, dined, theatre'd, museumed, walked and talked them.
The them at the end suggests that all six verbs were being used transitively, which makes it a poor example of museum as an intransitive verb. I understand that the usages here may be eccentric, but that's irrelevant to my point (except that it may [or may not] mean that it isn't a good exemplary quotation for any purpose at all).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No comment

The publication date and time (Blogger lets you schedule in advance, and it's very nice), as well as the gender of the pronouns, were chosen pseudo-randomly, using a pseudo-random-number generator, so that nobody will assume this has anything to do with anything I'm working on now, which it doesn't.

Well, this author whose book I was working on back when I posted this mentioned some social problem of some decades ago that some then-contemporary pundit was stewing about. The author wrote that this was not just some straw person the solon was pummeling, and he gave as a case in point what happened to some people in a novel. Timidly, I queried whether it might be better to cite a (so to speak) nonfictitious example. He said he didn't have one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Authorial oracularity

Tuesday, I jobbed a book manuscript out to a freelancer who will be working under my supervision [chortle]. The acquiring editor received an e-mail from the author asking that the following be added to the end of the acknowledgments (I'm changing the wording a little so that future generations won't be able to identify the author): "[Name of freelancer] and Mike Koplow provided excellent copyediting, and they have my thanks."

This was very generous, given that the copyediting has barely started and she hasn't seen any of it. I'm not trying to make fun of this author, who seems from her e-mails to be a very nice person. [For purps of this post, her gender was chosen randomly by use of a randomly grabbed Maryland quarter dated 2000.] But she does risk making her compliments meaningless.