Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Lexicography and the Art of making curtains
Almost thirty years ago, I studied lexicography as part of my undergraduate degree. The art of dictionary making and etymology has been a life long fascination. These days the English language is stretched as never before with the world of technology, social networking and text language, not to mention borrowed words and terminology from languages that brush elbows with ours on a daily basis.
What to leave out and what to include? In our household, we have adopted a new verb, which has developed from a personal noun. To be ottoed.
Otto, our large, placid and ever hungry tomcat / panda, loves to be where we are, wherever that is. His presence can be felt in the laundry basket, on the table, on the ironing board, bulging over the edge of the “in tray”, in a drawer, in the bed/wardrobe, sock drawer or smooching the computer keyboard.
This evening he helped make curtains. I am making replacements for all the windows in our dining room and living room. This has involved many hours kneeling with pincushions and Otto’s much beloved and chewed tape measure.
It was lovely to have his company – me pinning, him washing various bits of his anatomy and rumbling with a steady purr, watching the flicking tape measure with ever dissolving restraint.
I suspect I will own the curtains much longer than my dear friend. He is waddling into his twilight years, but I will always remember the evening that I made the curtains and they were very lovingly Ottoed!