Soporific Jargon

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love my work. I get paid to read, and correct errors, two activities dear to my Virgo heart. And I have chosen and succeeded in the niche of scholarly book editing, so I get to read lots of interesting stuff that would never cross my path otherwise.

Once in awhile, however, I’m a little over my head, content-wise, although I had what I consider a strong liberal arts education: I studied several languages, history, art, literature, as well as a variety of hard and soft sciences.

One of my current projects is a book about the meaning, construction, and dissemination of contemporary cultural icons. Which is fascinating, of course — yet when liberally peppered with concepts of semiotics and hermeneutics, I start losing the ability to really follow the text as I edit. I can correct for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc., but don’t ask me to edit for meaning! (And, luckily, I’m not expected to.)

To give you a little idea of this experience (because I know you’re all so fascinated by all this), here’s the list of words I’ve corrected for spelling, hyphenation, etc. in this book so far:

antiapartheid
antihero
antistructuralist
Bildungsroman
cœur
hyperreal
intersemiotic
Logos
nonlinguistic
Peirceian
postmodern
poststructuralist
Salt ‘n Pepa
sans
Soviet
threefold
transdisciplinary
West, Western (as in culture or society)

Whoo nelly. Luckily most of this dense theoretical stuff has been confined to the introduction, and the next few chapters have been interesting — one on Nelson Mandela and one on the Little Mermaid!

The last project I did was on anthropology and climate change, and the one before that was on social security created by religious networks. So, I’m usually fascinated … until the jargon makes me sleepy.

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8 Comments

Filed under Books, editing, freelancing

8 responses to “Soporific Jargon

  1. Funny, I find Salt ‘n Pepa so insignificant as a contemporary cultural icon, I mean they were like popular for 5 minutes. I think reading this stuff all day would make my head spin. I am in the complete opposite mode these days as most of my reading consists of a half hour of reading e-mails and peaking at other people’s blogs and pre-reading Amelia’s homeschooling materials. But you have an interesting job, I find it fascinating.

  2. Very interesting! I come from a world of advertising agencies, and have many editor friends who are all now spread around the world. 🙂

    I love words and find reading the dictionary and thesaurus meditative and relaxing. With everything being online now, though, it isn’t quite the same organic feel as turning pages. 🙂

    Now I have to go look up Bildungsroman. 🙂

  3. Can you tell I’m tired? I put in three, count them 3, smilie faces. Eek.

  4. Lisa Anne: Ms. Salt and Ms. Pepa were only mentioned in connection with the fact that they sang at a concert for Nelson Mandela, but didn’t really know who he was! So no, they were not cultural icons.

    Denise: Smilies are OK, especially when you’re tired!

  5. Nana

    so, my brilliant beautiful daughter, how many gs in get?

    strange that Peirceian would not be spelled Pierceian…

  6. Nana: You’re supposed to alert me to typos offline, like Anthropapa does!! It’s “Peirceian” because the person’s last name is Peirce, not Pierce. Hence, it’s on my list as something to make sure is spelled correctly in the final product.

  7. Nana

    well gosh darn! and here I was hoping for a reference to Pierceian Brosnanian as in Jamesian Bondian!

  8. Sorry Nanaian, no can doian 🙂

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