Well I hope you are a fellow logophile or at least you are interested in lexophilia or more accurately etymology because lexophilia is a neologism. Though technically etymology may not accurately describe what I'm getting at. So let's use lexicology. But, that would suggest that you may be a lexigographer, and that is more than likely not the case.
Are you confused?
Don't be, your amongst friends and I'm here to explain it all.
Logophiles are people who love words. See, simple. Etymology is the study of word origins, you know, how words begin. Which brings us to lexophilia, which is a neologism (a fancy word for a new word not yet recognized or vetted to be worthy of inclusion into our big fancy lexicon). Lexophilia is the "new" word for "the love of words." Lexophilia is derived from two Greek words lexis a Greek derivitive of logo, meaning "word" and philia, which means "fondness" or "friendship." Lexicology is "the study of the formation, meaning, and use of words and idiomatic comibinations of words." However, to be a lexigographer is to be a person who "writes, edits, or compiles a dictionary."
That's a lot of explaining. But why am I explaining all of this? Simple.
I decided some time ago that I needed a "professional" dictionary. Something worthy of ample desk and bookshelf real estate, which I currently don't boast, but that I could refer to, study, read, and cheat with when playing words with friends. I can't be a writer with out a serious dictionary, can I? My current Rhetorical Grammar professor agrees with me. He clearly and declaritively stated that as English majors we needed a great big 'ole unabriged dictionary. So there is my excuse.
I needed an excuse. How else could I justify mentioning a $1000 dictionary to E. Who buys $1000 dictionaries? (Me if I had the money.)
I've been a lover of dictionaries since the 2nd grade in Mrs. Kikut's class, but I have never ventured to invest, seriously invest and research a dictionary. I knew, but I didn't know that there is a world of dictionaries. I know, it makes sense that there would be, but really, who knew? I quickly got sucked into the world of dictionary acroynyms and lost in indecision.
So here were my, and yours if your looking to buy one, choices:
1. The Oxford English Dictionary, 1989 (OED) $995 via amazon. It is 20 volumes long; 22,000 pages; over half a million words; and includes histories, cross-references, illustrations, English words from every English speaking country.
2. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 2007 (SOED) $102 via Amazon. It is two volumes long; 3,472 pages; over half a million words (like OED but fewer etymologies and cross-references); and also includes its share of histories, cross-references, illustrations, and English words from every English speaking country.
3. The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2010 (NOAD) $35.33 via Amazon. It is one volume long; 2,096 pages; more than 100,000 words, and includes definitions, encyclopedic information, illustrations, biographies, and English words used from America.
4. The American Heritage Dictionary, 11/2011 (AHD) $37.80 via Amazon. It is one volume long; 2,212 pages; more than "10,000 new words" (I could not find how many actual enteries are included), and includes color illustrations, definitions, usuage guidelines, and an iphone/ipad/android app that contains the entire collection for mobile use.
5. Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 2005 (WUD) $42.74 via Amazon. It is one volume long; 2,256 pages; more than 300,000 entries; and includes illustrations, usuage guidelines, and supplements on synonyms, antonyms, and other manual info.
Those are the five dictionaries I narrowed my selection down to. First off, I was able to easily eliminate two: OED and WUD. OED is way too rich for my blood, even if I do bleed words. And the WUD, from what I read, does not contain any "new" words as the publisher got rid of their lexigographers. So those two choices were easily eliminated, but the remaining three had my head spinning.
I knew early on that I wanted the SOED, but the price pushed me into indecision. I have an old edition of AHD and I like it so a newer version (literally 15 days old) seemed exciting. But, there was something about the scholarship of OED that kept me coming back, so I thought about the NOAD. Can you tell by now that I needed an intervention? As E said, only I would need an intervention on dictionary selection.
In the end I considered what I need a dictionary for: writing and literature. I wanted something current so that put the AHD at the top of my list (I'm guessing it will be a great writing reference), but that still left me doubting whether I would have a dependable reference once I started my heavy rotation of World and British Litearture (set to begin in the new year). Once I considered that the decision was easy, though expensive.
I chose the SOED and the AHD. E agreed to buy the cheaper, the AHD, if I ponied-up my own money for the SOED.
And so now I wait my almost 20lb shipment of dictionaries. I won't lie, I'm excited as all get out. I'm imagining laying in bed on a rainy day, a cup of tea, and hours to search for new word crushes.
Am I the only one who loves dictionaries? I know I'm not, but I wonder who in my "life circle" finds dictionaries fascinating. I know my sis does, but we are virtually twins so I don't count her fascination. In the end it gets me wondering about the quirks that make us all unique. I'm wondering what sort of "nerdy" book fascinations do others have. I know there are tons of bibliophiles, in fact most of my friends are bibliophiles, but outside of that I'm wondering about the nerdy things people like and find fascinating.
I'm sure I lost a few of you with my dictionary roundup, but I hope it may peak someone's interest in words, dictionaries, or reference books. If not, I hope it at least got some of you thinking about the nerdy passions you hold secret. I don't think there is anything better than embracing your nerdy side, what ever that may be.
When I boil it all down I know most people don't care. But me? I talk dictionaries. Nothing more to it. I love literature, researching literature and litary critiques, and I love writing. All kinds of writing. If my bank account had one extra zero on the end I would be waiting the 20 book volume, but in the interest of my family eating for the next few months and Christmas giving I narrowed it down to a $150 purchase. Honestly, most important is that I am happy, excited, and anxious.
Come the weekend I hope to have a juicy review of my new reference additions. But until then, enough about reference materials...get out there and enjoy your day!