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Barring exceptions, everybody speaks at least one language. Some speak two or more. Some have an impressive array of languages that aren’t even in the same language family. And yet, that doesn’t necessarily make them linguists, or even language experts.

In fact, monolinguals are rarely even knowledgeable of the only language they’re capable of. Loads of native English-speakers flock to Asia to teach English, despite having no background or education in English, or language pedagogy. They speak English perfectly; surely that more-than-qualifies them to teach it. And yet, they couldn’t tell you anything about the nuances between adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions, to say nothing of the  psycho-linguistic factors in play for the use of continuitive on (used in such sentences as “go on”; “play on”; “keep on drinking”, but not in sentences like “*drink on”, or “*scratch on”).

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During a brief bout of insanity, I worked as a non-certified court reporter, taking oral testimony outside of court. And during that time, I had failed to be green-lit as an editor for transcripts (which are used as evidence in trial). But aside from the extraordinary lack of proper training, an explicit style guide, or even an outlined chain of command, was the general idea that the Dictionary is the Final Authority. …That, and, upon second thought, almost every other linguistic fallacy was rigidly followed.

1. Dictionary as Final Authority
I suppose in a literal way, the dictionary is a final authority, in the sense that it is last. Think about it: words only get entered and defined in dictionaries after lexicographers (extremely subjectively) observe the emergence of new words and/or usages. Put another way, it’s only after a word has reached a certain saturation point in common culture, that lexicographers will attempt to define and enter a word into their dictionaries. Which is to say, that the in-house 1989 Canadian Oxford Dictionary is woefully behind the times. Especially when you consider the fact that what is being transcribed is spontaneous contemporary speech; not a carefully considered written response. (Corollary: Dictionary between languages are even further behind the times. Between my Japanese friends and me, we found that their only gloss for poignant, was the etymologically original sense of “sad”, as opposed to the more contemporary sense of “apt; sharply felt”.)

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Glossary

COCA - Corpus of Contemporary American English
L1/L2/... - Primary/Secondary Language
NNS - Non-Native Speaker
NS - Native Speaker