Saturday, October 27, 2007

The meaning of ‘clarivoyent’

You think it's a mispeling of 'clairvoyant'. In a posting yesterday, I said "I feel almost clarivoyent,...." As misspelling, 'clarivoyent' varies with the norm (Chaucer wouldn't know the difference), which is a lexical establishment, that which an accepted dictionary represents. Lexicography has empirically determined the factical norm (i.e., what's normal, in the statistical sense) and declares a common-custom norm, in Habermas' sense of principle D (but as emergent validation, rather than organized validation), in light of etymological background (the legacy of cultural evolution), though sometimes certifying that multiple spellings are widely used. Meanwhile, the lexicologists worry about emerging and fading trends in usage, which contribute to revisions of dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary expresses universalistic recommendation for the language (not just representing definitive history), and its calling is universally accepted by English lexicology.