"LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered "as one having authority," whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statue. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as "obsolete" or "obsolescent" and few men thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor -- whereby the process of improverishment is accelerated and speech decays. On the contrary, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and is tartly reminded that "it isn't in the dictionary" -- although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation -- sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion -- the lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.
- God said: "Let Spirit perish into Form,"
And lexicographers arose, a swarm!
Thought fled and left her clothing, which they took,
And catalogued each garment in a book.
Now, from her leafy covert when she cries:
"Give me my clothes and I'll return," they rise
And scan the list, and say without compassion:
"Excuse us -- they are mostly out of fashion."
Sigismund SmithAmbrose Bierce, The devil's dictionary
El misantrop i periodista Ambrose Bierce (conegut com a "Bitter Bierce") va néixer un dia de sant Joan de l'any 1842 a Meigs County (Ohio) i en teoria deu haver mort, però no se'n té constància. L'any 1913 va creuar la frontera mexicana amb dos mil dòlars en or i el seu rastre es va esfumar... Deliciosa és la lectura del seu satíric diccionari. Aquest meravellós llibre es pot trobar en castellà (Valdemar, 1993), però no en català. Editors!
Al final d'aquesta citació apareix el poeta Sigismund Smith, que forma part d'una rècula de personatges il·lustres de la cultura anglòfila bierciana: "Durang Gophel Arn", "Borey the Bald", "Armit Huff Bettle", "Anonymous Bink", "Oglum P. Boomp", "Orpheus Bowen, "Marth Braymance", "Hassan Brubuddy", "Conmore Apel Brune", "J.H. Bumbleshook", "Salder Bupp", "Xamba Q. Dar", "Ambat Delaso", "Chauncey Depew", "Pollo Doncas", "Barel Dort", "Pobeter Dunk", "Booly Fito", "Bissel Gip", "Bootle P. Gish", "Apuleius M. Gokul", "Orrin Goof", "Richard Gwow", "Hannibal Hunsiker", "Halcyon Jones", "Opoline Jones", "Jarn Leffer", "Baruch de Loppis", "Mumfrey Mapple", "Jupter Muke", "Bugul S. Purvy", "J. Milton Sloluck", "Giacomo Smith", "Juan Smith", "Polydore Smith", "Sigismund Smith", "Stromboli Smith", "The Reverend Dr. Mucker", "M.P. Nopput", "Blary O'Gary", "Naramy Oof", "Jared Oopf", "Orm Pludge", "Romach Plute", "Balthasar Pober", "Alexander Poke", "Porfer Poog", "Bartle Quinker", "Tinley Roquot", "Lavatar Shunk", "Dudley Spink", "Arbley C. Strunk", "Offenbach Stutz", "Fernano Tapple", "The Roaring Gimlet", "Toodles", "Venable Strigg", "Fogarty Weffing", "Wauky De Woggy", "Joel Spate Woop", "Jorrock Wormley", i "John William Yope". (Llista de Funny Names Folio)
Traïció personal: Lexicògraf, n. Tipus pestilent que, amb el pretext de registrar alguna etapa particular del desenvolupament d'un idioma, fa tot el que pot per detenir el seu creixement, enravenar la seva flexibilitat i mecanitzar els seus mètodes. (continua, però ara mateix fa una mandra...)