GIFS Wednesday, Dec 12 2012 

Earlier this year we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the invention of the GIF file format by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe. The following video by PBS OffBook does a great job of telling this story:

From the practical “under construction,” to the silly LOL Cats, to the very artsy incarnations from INSA, these little scripts compel us to look. Now as to pronunciation, according to Wikipedia both”gif” and “jif” are acceptable with the OED.

Raven-ous says long live the GIF!


Our Fascination with the OED Wednesday, Mar 30 2011 

Last week the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) released it’s quarterly list of new words added to the dictionary.  They included some familiar acronyms, OMG and LOL and one that I had never heard WAG (wives and girlfriends) and they included the first symbol for “i heart” something. They have received some criticism from the Washington Post concerning their loss of dignity, but I like the way the OED explains this latest update themselves.

According to this Telegraph article there is a room where they keep all the rejected words, alphabetically on 3 x 5 cards, going back almost 100 years! (Newly rejected words are kept digitally, of course). If the words become popular the will be resurrected from the backroom. Check out the list of “non-words” at the end of the article. Could you ever call your big toe a Fumb? No, me neither.

Lamentable Lost Words Monday, Oct 18 2010 

L. D. Mitchell at the Fine Books Blog has written a clever piece on the English language and the various efforts to save words that have gone out of common usage.  Oxford Dictionaries is sponsoring this very cute website called Save the Words to encourage people to use these words in their conversation and writing.  They state in the section called “adopt-a-word” that 90% of all written communication is conducted with only 7,000 words. If you are amorevolous about etymology, you need to visit this site.

The Last Print Edition of the OED, Maybe Wednesday, Sep 29 2010 

The Oxford English Dictionary is the written record of the English language. Should it be available only in digital format? When the new 3rd edition is ready, Oxford University Press is considering skipping the 20+ volumes, shelves worth of space, and weight, in favor of the OED Online, which is a wonderful product that has been around for a decade now. In December the online version will relaunch to include the Historical Thesaurus of the OED. Everything you could want at your electronic fingertips.

Yet I hope they decide to print a few copies and store them in a vault somewhere, for posterity, or Armageddon.

Thanks to the Fine Books Blog


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