Video Fix: “Geeking Out on Words Just Got Easier”, by Erin McKean

November 18, 2015 6:22 pm

Erin McKean for Video fixIf you have never heard of Erin McKean before, then it probably means that you aren’t that passionate about language, or that you still have some work to do. Either way, don’t be afraid: we will take care of the situation and tell you who she is.

Born 1971, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Erin is one of the most important lexicographers of nowadays. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA/MA in Linguistics, and has been the editor in chief of US Dictionaries for Oxford University Press and Principal Editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. But most of all, she is the founder of Reverb, which makes the online dictionary Wordnik – a website that “encourages the study of every word in the English language”.

She is, of course, also the author of several English language-related books (e.g. Weird and Wonderful Words, 2002, That’s Amore, 2007, The Secret Lives of Dresses, 2011, Aftercrimes, Geoslavery and Thermogeddon: Plus 157 More Words From a Lexicographer’s Notebook, 2011) and the contributor for the New York Times on the Language column.

If you’re curious and want to find out more about her, you can check today’s Video fix. In this self-explaining, very interesting 4-minute interview, she will speak about Google Ngram Viewer – the research tool released in mid-December 2010, and initially based on Google Books, which “charts frequencies of any word or short sentence using yearly count of n-grams found in the sources printed between 1500 and 2015 in American English, British English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, and Chinese” – and Wordnik itself as well. She will also give you some insight into new words that might make their way into your own language.

You can follow Erin McKean on her Twitter at @emckean

You can find all her famous TED talks here.


Written by Eva Barros Campelli

Communication Trainee at TermCoord

Italian Journalists Association – London School of Journalism

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