i came across this word while thumbing through the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. it refers to a technique devised by linguists in the 1940s which determines the rate at which a language has changed over the centuries. while i definitely fall into the everything-about-language-is-cool camp, it just struck me that they couldn’t have come up with a more pedantic, impenetrable, academic moniker. i’d like to see one of those linguists tell one of their buddies what they do over a pint at the pub: “i’ve been working on this new thing … it’s called lexer … uhhh … statisstiticial … (burp) … glockenspoo … eh, forget it. another pint of guinness?”
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