Sunday, March 18, 2007

Drying up Ganesha

"Drying up" is a description that Claude Renault gives to many of his photographs in which women are drying their saris in India. I like his usage of "drying up". Before, I would have said the women are "drying their saris." Now I have added Claude's unique usage of this phrasal verb to my English. As a "native speaker" of English, I have used the phrasal verb "to dry up" to mean, for example, that "the river dried up." Formerly, I would not have used "to dry up" in regards to the act of drying a piece of clothing. However, I like Claude's phrase. In any case, what is true of language use is that language is created by people. Some words or phrases don't make it into dictionaries until lexicographers agree that the word has become part of the English language (like the recent addition of the word wiki to the OED, Oxford English Dictionary). The English we all use on flickr is an excellent example of World English(es) in action. I say that "drying up a sari" belongs in the OED because it is language in use by real people.

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