Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

A Meeting of alphaDictionary Minds

Paul and BobOver the 12 years I have developed this website, from the Web of Online Dictionaries, through and on to, one of the greatest joys has been meeting logophiles of like mind around the world. I use the term “mind” literally, since the Internet community is a community of minds, as I’m sure you are well aware, stripped of all the psychological and social  accoutrements of traditional acquaintanceships. 
One of my oldest Internet friends is Paul Ogden. Paul has edited my Good Words two years now and even touches up the blog from time to time (including this one). He lives in Tel Aviv but at the beginning of this month he visited the States and stopped by for a visit. We stayed up into the wee hours talking language and continued from breakfast to lunch the next day. We were two old friends of 9 years who simply had never seen each other before. Minds matched, all other aspects of physical acquaintance slipped deftly into place.

Paul’s visit illuminated for me the delightful notion that a community has bloomed around alphaDictionary. It is a community connected by this blog, the Alpha Agora, and the e-mail system, a community of minds fascinated with the world of words. This is a reward in a class all its own.

3 Responses to “A Meeting of alphaDictionary Minds”

  1. sonam Says:

    The day I found this web site, I was so ecstatic that I have started spreading the good usage of this site. Till now I could not find any web site where I could ask any question related to English. Basically, I am a biotechnologist editng biotechnology books and have also been a motivational speaker. And so this way, i started my journey for exploring the English language.
    By reading about your and Paul’s relationship, I am so excited and i wish to meet you once in my life too.

  2. Lester Bunning Says:

    I have stumbled across you a few times, and now I must say hello. I have always loved language. As a pre-schooler in Kansas I was acutely aware of how people talked and judged people by whether or not they were language-conscious; it was, and is, a major sort criterion for me.

    My two years in the Army were a happy hunting ground for researching “real” English. All the memorable examples come from the South. I recall an old sargeant whose past tense of reach was “retch” and of climb was “clumb.” An insructor from the south never said “when” in referring to a past event; it was always “whenever” even referring to a known past time. And then there was the modal auxiliary “to up’n”, meaning something like “to decide to.” “He up’n and gimme me a cup of coffee.”

    I spent far too much time reading your stuff, and I enjoy every moment of it. Thank you.

  3. rbeard Says:

    Lester, you can’t spend too much time reading my stuff. Now, I may spend too much time writing it but you are not to blame for that.

    I’m glad you mentioned “up’n”. I heard a lot of “up’n” growing up in rural NC. In my later linguistic life I decided that it was a substitute for “suddenly”, since that is usually what it meant and I don’t recall hearing that word when I lived down there. There are other words which just don’t exist in Southernese. I recall first hearing “must” in high school when I was 17–from a Yankee. We only used “hafta”. Also, “very” was never used by real Southerners, only “mighty” or “awfully”.

    The lexical differences between Southern and other dialects are considerable.

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