Getting in the last word

  • Article by: ALYSSA FORD , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2011 - 3:26 PM

A U of M professor is trying to beat the clock to finish his masterwork: A dictionary of the origins of some of the most misunderstood words in English.

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sjhuotApr. 17, 1110:48 PM

Cool! Keep up the good work!

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johnmcfaddenApr. 17, 1111:34 PM

THIS is why we need newspapers. Thank you Alyssa for this piece

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subterraneanApr. 18, 1111:37 AM

I knew the Liberman family during the late 1970s, having met them shortly after they arrived in Minnesota. I am very impressed with his dedication, and I appreciate the work he is doing.

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luxaeternaApr. 18, 1111:54 AM

This is the kind of thing I always believed an academic should be doing: pursuing some scholarly interest. What a contrast with the "blogger" from the U. who regularly shows up here with some meaningless drivel about campus politics.

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PookiepayApr. 18, 11 1:45 PM

Wonderful story about a fascinating project. One quibble, though. I'm quite certain nobody is going to spend 20 years looking for the origin of the word "lilliputian." I can give them that in 10 seconds. It's from Gulliver's Travels.

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luxaeternaApr. 18, 11 2:43 PM

Pookiepay: the Wikipedia entry on Lilliput says the name came from a lake region in Ireland that Swift used to visit. And where did it come from before that? That's the line of inquiry that takes more than 10 seconds.

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nitewindApr. 18, 11 7:20 PM

"On the origin of the word "dwarf," for instance, he has already written 16 double-columned, single-spaced pages."-----I hope we aren't paying him to do this.

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slaghopperApr. 18, 11 7:49 PM

Give the man more graduate students!

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woodyagApr. 18, 11 8:36 PM

Professor - wonderful. Some of us out here understand the genuine importance; as well as the pure fun. Best wishes.

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partsunknownApr. 18, 1111:19 PM

I took Scandanavian Mythology as a Lib Ed class with Prof Liberman a few years ago. It was an interesting class for someone with a Swedish heritage. This article made me laugh because we had an essay question defining what dwarf really is and I still have my answer sitting around: "Dwarves were not midgets but instead skilled craftsmen who lived virtually at one with rocks and stones. They forged magnificent items such as Thor’s hammer. The misconception that they were small people may have come from the fact that they lived in such small and confined quarters. "

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