Friday, May 20, 2011

Help from the experts

The people who work for the Oxford English Dictionary have a wonderful collection of blogs, word-a-day emails and Twitter feeds. Yesterday's tweets were particularly useful for us: they wrote about the word "chthonic" (featured in our Bees), and they posted a list of frequently-misspelled words--along with their correct spellings. Check it out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Dover artist and fellow word girl Jane Bleakley forwarded this link:

Check it out: it's cool.  They have a swirly word web that is reminiscent of the one on Visual Thesaurus--Woop Studios' one is a bit artier, and you can click on the individual words (if you're quick enough) to see a brief description and an image of a print featuring the word you've selected.  Their artwork is for sale, and they state an interest in partnering with charitable organizations and schools for mutual benefit.

As clever and creative as it is, the website lacks any notation about the sources of the collective nouns illustrated. It looks like there are some traditional terms alongside some more fanciful words.  For example, Woop lists a prettying of doves (the traditional term is dule), and a journey of giraffes (rather than a tower or a totter).  Because it's not clear where Woop Studios found their alternate terms, I would not rely on the site for more than entertainment (and shopping).

Juliana Berners (or Barnes), the grande dame of terms of venery, would likely disapprove of some of the content, but can you imagine what she might have thought about the word web?