Author Topic: Shearer  (Read 2019 times)

Tom

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Shearer
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:54:07 AM »
I posed the question on chinwag: "how came 'shearer' is considered a rare word?" I got 'depends' and 'interesting'. The latter in response to my statement that a shearer is someone who professionally removes wool from sheep. Is a shearer not commonly known outside Australia and New Zealand, where the term is common knowledge?

mkenuk

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Re: Shearer
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2015, 12:59:23 PM »
The test for deciding if a word is common or not is sometimes said to be 'Is it familiar to an educated native speaker in any part of the English-speaking world?';
 In which case there's no doubt n my mind that 'shearer' should be common.

MK

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Re: Shearer
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2015, 08:49:10 PM »
It would seem to me that even people not intimately involved with the wool industry know what a shearer is.
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Alan W

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Re: Shearer
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 03:05:19 PM »
I agree, Tom. Shearer ought to be classed as common in future.

It seems that the word shearer is used much more frequently in New Zealand and Australia than elsewhere. The attached chart is derived from the Corpus of Web-Based Global English, and aims to count only common noun usage, that it, excluding the surname Shearer. But this heavy usage down under just reflects the central role - iconic, even - of the wool industry in our history. But people can know what a shearer is even if they seldom come across the word. And as MK and RM indicate, that is no doubt the case.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 03:11:05 PM by Alan W »
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