Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Radically" and "New" Are Two Words of which I'm Not Really Fond

But now they're being applied to the Greek lexicon coming in 2010 (2010! Doesn't that year only exist in movies?) from Cambridge University Press. (HT: LTA.) Move over Liddell, Scott, and Jones; here comes something more radical. But who wants a radical Greek lexicon?

Well, I suppose I'll give it a try. It's a bit tiresome going to LSJ for meanings and finding "thus," "whithersoever," and other such nineteenth-century holdovers.

But when people, even editors of Greek lexicons, start saying things like "It has allowed us to jettison the classifications that exist and start again," I can't help but think of the N.I.C.E.:

The N.I.C.E. marks the beginning of a new era--the really scientific era. Up to now, everything has been haphazard. This is going to put science itself on a scientific basis. There are to be forty interlocking committees sitting every day and they've got a wonderful gadget--I was shown the model last time I was in town--by which the findings of each committee print themselves off in their own little compartment on the Analytical Notice-Board every half hour. Then, that report slides itself into the right position where it's connected up by little arrows with all the relevant parts of the other reports. A glance at the Board shows you the policy of the whole Institute actually taking shape under your own eyes. There'll be a staff of at least twenty experts at the top of the building working this Notice-Board in a room rather like the Tube control rooms. It's a marvellous gadget. The different kinds of business all come out in the Board in different coloured [sic] lights. It must have cost half a million. They call it a Pragmatometer. (Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 38)

Forget the old categories! We've got Pragmatometers and radically new Greek lexicons.

No comments: