Time, “Seven Hang-Ups in the Language of Gay Rights”

March 27, 2013

Katy Steinmetz, “Seven Hang-Ups in the Language of Gay Rights” (Time Newsfeed, Mar. 27, 2013)

Marriage: For years, lexicographers have pored over the term at the center of Supreme Court proceedings today, trying to tweak dictionary entries to reflect how all people use the word, regardless of their political persuasions. “Lexicographers end up in a no-win situation, where no matter what they do, somebody’s going to have trouble with the definition,” says Ben Zimmer, linguist and executive producer at Vocabulary.com.

Some dictionaries, like the historically ordered Merriam-Webster, have added a second definition for same-sex marriage and left the main entry referring to a man and a woman. Zimmer points out that some gay rights activists balk at that fix, however, feeling a second definition suggests that gay marriage is second class.

Read the rest here.

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