Chocolate Caliente, Por Favor

If you limit your reading to contemporary bookclub novels, you may not experience the speed bumps caused by passages and words rendered in the original language (VO) and not in comfortable English. However, my experience suggests that even a limited advance into canonical literature or the wide-world of global writing will assuredly trip-up a reader with a passage in a strange language or a latinate phrase every lawyer or botanist knows, or an awkward translation that demands comparison to the original language.

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Paper is the enemy of words

The lexicographer Erin McKean posited in one of her TED lectures that “paper is the enemy of words.” Her point was that the dictionary was too restrictive in its current form and as a paper and ink book it would shortly go the way of the 8-Track.

McKeanMcKean is an interesting person—young, exuberant, engaging (despite her affiliation with the older underwear in my drawer). She fits right in with my own lifetime affair with words and such excellent entertainment as reading the dictionary and finding new words (at least to me) in everything I read. We all keep a journal of new and exciting words, don’t we?

As a professional lexicographer, McKean not only loves words, they are the building blocks of her vocation as well as something akin to the genetic material in her daily life

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