Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Paid Job That Requires No Work

A couple of weeks ago I happily argued with our writing facilitator about using a hard copy dictionary, rather than an electronic one.

As far as I was concerned, Word has a very good Thesaurus and if the word I need is not in it, there is to provide answers. I don't time to faff around turning pages, I said.

This week Baby inadvertently demonstrated why every person who wants to learn the English language needs a hard copy dictionary.

She was reading a comprehension essay on nocturnal animals.
"Damaria, what kind of animal lives in a sett?." Baby asked.
" Set as in s-e-t?"
"No. S-e-t-t."

I didn't know the word, so we ended up looking it up in her dictionary. We also found out the many ways the word " set" can be used.

These included:

Set to
Set about
Set off
Set up

I don't think we would have spent as much time looking up words if the dictionary we used was electronic.

We certainly wouldn't have come across the word "sinecure" if our searches were targeted.
Sinecure means " a paid job that requires no work."

We couldn't figure out how that works.

Baby suggested a number of jobs that don't look like work to her ( like modelling, being a tv presenter, walking dogs for people) , but I argued that to people who hold these jobs, there is work required.

Even if you just endorse a product, you have to shoot the advertising campaign, maybe attend product launches and give speeches, I said.

If you do know, or are lucky enough to have a sinecure, please leave a comment to explain what it is. I'm sure a lot of readers here would like to land one of those :-).

Ref: The South African 0xford Dictionary, 2nd Edition

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