Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Webster's Updates Definition of "Marriage"

If you talk to any editor or linguist, she'll tell you that the English language is always changing. In my opinion, that's the beauty of it. That's how you can tell how old an antique book is even if it doesn't have a copyright date. That's how cultural evolution can shape language. That's why English isn't a dead language.

The latest official language change has some people in an uproar, though. Webster's dictionary updated the definition of marriage to include relationships between same sex couples:

"1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage marriage"

One YouTube user created a video to voice his protest of the definition change. This has, of course, started quite a dialogue about the definition update.

The change in the definition just comes back to reflecting culture, though.

Webster's Associate Editor Kory Stamper wrote, "In recent years, this new sense of 'marriage' has appeared frequently and consistently throughout a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications, and is often used in phrases such as 'same-sex marriage' and 'gay marriage' by proponents and opponents alike. Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing our readers with accurate information about all of the word's current uses."

1 comment:

  1. About damn time they changed that definition. WOOHOO! Because everyone deserves such an opportunity for happiness. Everyone.