Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sun Nov 16 11:13:57 EST 2003

On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 11:54:44 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble wrote:

>--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at> wrote:
>I think that common usage is
>> what accounts for more
>> recent dictionaries including the "new" definition
>> as correct, since I
>> believe they track how people actually use words as
>> well as their original
>> meanings.
>I agree, languages change and it is futile to try to
>keep them static, I was just being needlessly
>pedantic. I suspect that the names of most diactric
>marks were originally what they did, and that that
>only gradually became associated with the sign for it.

I didn't think it was needlessly pedantic because I like learning new
things.  I think that came out more snotty than I meant it.  Sorry about
that.  It gave me something to think about yesterday, in fact, when I was
running errands and had nothing else to occupy my mind--like how some
symbols become actual letters in the alphabet and others don't.

>> But that's interesting to know.  If even most German
>> speakers seem unaware
>> of what an umlaut actually is, doesn't that make you
>> wonder about the
>> meaning of "actually"?  :)
>All fans of Beachcomber (JB Morton) know that
>"actually" is the Persian word for fertiliser.

I'll have to remember that.  I know I've heard it used by people who were
clearly shoveling it on--usually at academic conferences....

Melissa Proffitt

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