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Jane Solomon

Lexicographer (

in lexicographer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jane Solomon. I work as a lexicographer at (my official title is linguist-in-residence). I write and edit definitions for the site, and I work on other research projects like Word of the Year. I do a lot of media interviews as part of my job, so I often think about how to best communicate the work we do with the general public.

I'm also on the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, so I review emoji proposals that people submit. Did you know that anyone can submit an emoji proposal!? Many of these proposals later end up as official Unicode emoji codepoints. Sometimes I work on emoji projects for fun, like I looked at what emoji come before and after the gun emoji last year on my blog Lexical Items, and I recently built an emoji-sky generator on Glitch with some friends.

I'm currently writing a children's book called The Dictionary of Difficult Words coming out spelling bee season 2019 with Frances Lincoln. The very very talented Louise Lockhart is illustrating it. It's for kids ages 7+, but it's also for adults. It's kind of like a dictionary, but it only has really hard words that 7-year-olds wouldn't know. About 1/3 of the words will be new to most adults. I say "most" here because I've shown some of the pages to my lexicographer friends and they unsurprisingly have very big vocabularies. That said, I don't expect most people to be familiar with words like 'absquatulate' or 'moonbow.'

What hardware do you use?

I use a 2018 13" MacBook Pro for work and a 2015 13" MacBook Air for personal projects. I've got an iPhone 7. I promise this is not an Apple fansite.

At work I have an external monitor and a desk that allows me to stand or sit. I have the VerticalMouse (right hand) and a Magic Trackpad (left hand), which I use to switch between desktops. I find that that helps me focus.

The best hardware purchase of my life was a projector I bought almost five years ago. I've always hated the idea of having a living room that is arranged around a television - this way we just pull down the screen when we want to watch something, and it disappears when we're not using it. Home theater snobs will say you need to spend upwards of $2k to get a good projector, but this is simply not true. We found something in the $300-$500 range that we love and use all the time.

And what software?

I am a big fan of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (though Google Slides doesn't handle emoji well for presentations, so I end up having to take screen shots of the emoji I want - I give a lot of presentations about emoji). I use Slack for work, and I also always have Spotify open. I find their Discover Weekly playlist is usually pretty great. I am slightly creeped out by how well the suggestions are catered to my taste.

For social media, I'm pretty active on Twitter where I tend to stick to the topics of language and emoji. I've got a private Instagram account that's extremely boring, and a fake public Instagram account where I post from the perspective of an Insta influencer who lives a fabulous life and just happens to be an emoji. That's called Emoji Influencer. She loves doing make-up tutorials and taking photos of herself in front of murals. She also has a pet bunny named Greyscale.

What would be your dream setup?

Rose gold MacBook Pro.