Monday, 5 March 2007

Not quite as predicted

Today didn't work as out as particularly quiet, but it wasn't exactly atypical either. I spent most of the morning traipsing between the Inn libraries looking for the most up to date editions of various popular dictionaries and to get a few pages copied from Bennion on Statutory Interpretation (the 4th edition, mind, and the supplement). I've ended up copying various pages from the Oxford English Dictionary (1989), the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (2002), The Chambers Dictionary (1998), the New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2002). I've listed them in this order because I discovered that the first three were helpful and the last two were not helpful, giving a very different emphasis to the meaning of the word I was looking up. I also copied the preface from the latter two dictionaries, as it seems that the editors of these have followed some sort of new-fangled, radical approach to dictionary writing by taking the word, examining examples of its modern usage and then writing the definition accordingly. This contrasts with the more traditional, time-honoured approach of looking at the origins and etymology of the word in question to discern its various meanings. This seems to take quite a long time, by the way, which is why there have only ever been two editions of the full OED, and the first one seems to have taken sixty years to write, during which time several editors died. From boredom or other causes, Wikipedia does not inform me.


I feel the need to confess that I accidentally ended up discussing the study of insects with several people on my travels, due to a rather embarrassing malapropism on my part.

This was all with a view to strengthening an argument I came up with last week for this week's case. It's not a terribly interesting argument, turning as it does on whether Home Office drafters (or would we rather say 'draughtsmen', anyone?) were using a word in the wider or the narrower sense, but it's a useful lesson in statutory interpretation principles and how appallingly crap Home Office drafting/draughting can be.

I don't really want to say what the word is, I'm afraid, for fear of giving away too much and making myself traceable again.

The Master plans to keep this material in reserve, in case the argument heads in this particular direction. He doesn't want to be handing in another late bundle on top of the existing 'additional bundle'. This new one would be 'additional bundle no.2'. The Master is at serious risk of a good judicial bollocking, and I don't think he'd be able to charm his way out of this one.

I also spent a lot of time today photocopying, stapling and hole punching, for good measure. But did slip out to get my eyes tested, that twitch having been a bit of a worry but now having subsided. I don't need glasses. Yet.


Martin said...

'Tis "draftsmen" or "draftsmenship" as far as I'm aware PB.

"Draughtsmenship" would usually be applied to someones who draws up technical plans, or an artist.

If one is not talking specifically about drafting legal documents, then "draughtsmenship" would usually be correct, as "draftsmenship" is the American variant.

That said, you're in a much better position to give the correct terminology, with all of those dictionaries in front of you.

Pupilblogger said...

The dictionaries are all tucked away back in their proper places. I was afraid of incurring the wrath of Batgirl or Lo-fi! I always went for 'draft' myself without thinking about it but a colleague suggested a while ago that this was unnecessarily modern of me, and I've wondered ever since.

Thanks for the suggestion about the case note, btw. I have in fact been using my snatched moments of spare time on research for a training session and article. But kept getting interrupted by new photocopying, fetching and hole punching requests.

Batgirl said...

Heh. I am almost certain I dealt with you on your quest but your secret is safe with me, particularly as you sort of know who I am as a result. :g: It's all very catch 22, hrm? But still, hello!

Martin, The dictionaries are definitely still in their rightful place! :g: In my library, PB has to go through me to get to them in the first place and no one has managed to get a book through the door without setting our security system off yet!

Pupilblogger said...

I suspected as much, Batgirl...

lo-fi librarian said...

Identities are being revealed all over the shop!

Batgirl said...

If it helps, I probably couldn't pick you out of a line-up. I'm actually far better at remembering queries than the person asking, unless it's someone I deal with on a regular basis.

It's always a bit odd when the internet appears in real life though.