Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 11:32:31 -0400
From: Thomas Paikeday
Subject: Single Swallow Summers

19 May 1998
I'm barely Net-literate; I hope this message gets through.
It refers to Yongwei Gao's comment (Neologisms, No. 3 on May 18) about
"cyberize" a la "Among the New Words" of AMERICAN SPEECH.
First off, what I'm doing may not be the done thing among friends and
colleagues, but I've a lexicographic axe to grind and grind it I must. So
with all due respect to John and Adele Algeo and their worthy successors,
plus apologies, I differ with ANW on whether one quotation is sufficient
evidence of a neologism.
To me it seems like announcing summer on the basis of one swallow or
(pardon the hyperbole) making a study on the basis of a random sample of
one. It may be that more than one citation has been collected, but that
with single-cite definitions you can have "multum in parvo" and thus save
space in these hard-pressed times.
However, when you are adducing evidence (implying that the neologism in
question is current among a considerable number of English users) I feel we
should present at least three cites from different sources, different in
regard to author and souce - this after a sufficient number have been
studied for abstracting a definition.
Why the "cyberize" definition apparently based on a 1994 cite doesn't
Gao's 1997 citation may be because of change of meaning, diversification,
etc. But three citations (sorry I don't have any - I stopped collecting
five years ago when I started full-time work on my latest dictionary),
would have justified the entry in its own right for 1994. Some of these
words seem changeable, especially when they are first sighted. Now it would
seem that "cyberize" has become levelled to mean "computerize."
Thomas Paikeday (paikedtm[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]