Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 17:20:11 -0500 From: "Jeutonne P. Brewer" Subject: >From stygall[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Tue Oct 28 17:02:05 1997 >Subject: Re: PC Dictionaries? >Jesse: >You miss my point. There is nothing -- other than some very human >decisions made by people like you -- that demands that a >dictionary define by what you call what it "means." I don't think I or >many other people would have any trouble figuring out what it "means" by >starting with epithet. The Harper Collins CoBuild, for example, begins >the definition of "nigger" with "a word . . ." Semantics remains the >most >slippery of the linguistic levels and yet you make it sound as if what it >"means" is utterly transparent. Gail I suppose I have missed something, but I don't understand why you propose "defining" by epithet rather than by "meaning." (I can't refer back to your first message because I seem to have deleted.) What about words/phrases that can't be handled adequately by epithet? Should the dictionary use epithets for socially sensitive words but use word "meanings" for other words. I have an old dictionary at hand (1950s). Epithet is defined as follows: "an adjective, noun, or phrase expressing some quality considered characteristic of a person or thing: as, that _black-hearted_ villain" I would rather have a definition, I think, rather than just the epithet example used in the definition. I am still left with the question of why/how an epithet would be preferable to a meaning. Jeutonne ********************************************** Jeutonne P. Brewer, Associate Professor Department of English University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC 27412 email: jpbrewer[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] URL: ***********************************************