Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Diachronic

with 4 comments

Ancient Greek Writings
Image by Kirk Siang via Flickr

A high-up source close to higher-up sources has passed me a copy of an invitation to an international conference.

Among other attractions, the invitation promises discussion and debate on matters of ‘universal and diachronic interest’. The writer was so keen on the word ‘diachronic’ that it’s also worked into a later paragraph using the handy phrase ‘diachronic perspective’.

Now for those of you who already know what ‘diachronic’ means, I would just like to point out that this is not a linguistics conference. Just in case there’s the slightest chance that anyone out there doesn’t know (where have you been?), the Oxford Dictionary of English explains that it is an adjective used to describe the way something, especially language, has developed and evolved over time. It comes from the Greek words ‘dia’ meaning ‘through’ and ‘khronos’ meaning ‘time’.

I’m thinking that the delegates may be in for a pretty dire khronos if the invitation is anything to go by, diachronic interests and perspectives notwithstanding.

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4 Responses

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  1. Sounds like a case of learn a new word and use it in a sentence, every sentence.

    Lisa

    22/06/2010 at 8:17 am

    • Hi — yes, especially if it has lots of syllables and most people won’t have the first idea what it means.

      Deborah

      22/06/2010 at 8:19 am

  2. My ex was bichronic, so I had to leave her.

    Michael Farrell

    23/06/2010 at 12:55 am

    • A two-timer — I should add that to my collection of neologisms!

      Deborah

      23/06/2010 at 8:46 am


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