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Monday, 8 December 2008

The Oxford Junior Dictionary

Quite a dust-up over the decisions, (or decisionS, as the changes came about incrementally,) by the editorial staff of OUP to newly define certain words in their Junior Dictionary aimed at 7 year olds and up, at the expense of other words, which are seen by them as not as not so very necessary.

Of course, such choices and sacrifices have to be made for all but unabridged dictionary, but some of this does seem particularly bone-headed.

The OUP has in effect challenged my assumption that it was self-evident that a dictionary ought more properly prepare you to read great literature, rather than cereal boxes, People magazine and owners manuals.... I'll have to give that some thought.

Some newly promoted vocabulary:

Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue, celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro, apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph

Some oldies that failed to make the cut:

Carol, [???]cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe
Dwarf,[???] elf, goblin
Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, [???]chapel, christen, disciple, minister, [???]monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, [???]pulpit, saint,[???] sin, devil,[???] vicar
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade[???]
adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, [???]hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, [???]plaice, poodle, [???]porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.
Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon,[???] beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, [???]buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, [???]fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, [???]leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, [???]pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, [???]violet, walnut, willow

And I have to agree that appearances, at least, are that there was an agenda beyond staying "current" in play here.
But some of it's just bone-headed (bacon? BACON? BACON???? that's a processed meat for the love of pete, the "we're an urban people, not country folk, and don't encounter the thing the word expresses anymore" line of reasoning doesn't even apply.)
And "devil"?
As a blogger I know would ask, whiskey tango hotel?

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