Wednesday, 10 December 2008

OUP in dictionary purge scandal

Thanks to Donna's excellent Write Report, I am alerted to the apparent fact that Oxford University Press has removed a list of words from its children's dictionary to make room for more trendy ones. The purged words include aisle and bishop, empire and monarch, allotment and willow. Apparently we are now so multi-cultural, modern and urban in the UK we don't need words relating to Christianity, history or nature.

Now, I have to put a word of caution in here. The story is in the Daily Telegraph, second only to the Daily Mail in conservative paranoia. However, assuming the facts are true, and the Torygraph is usually quite good at facts, this is appalling. We are desperately enthusiastic to support the cultural heritage of everyone except the British - what about our heritage, guys? (Or have you taken heritage out of your fictionary too?) Fictionary was a typo, but I've left it in as it seems apt.

I admit some of the new words ought to go in, but not all - and the cull is horrendous. Here, according to the Telegraph, is the in and out list. Choose for yourself. For some reason the one that strikes home most to me is aisle. I mean, they have aisles in supermarkets, OUP. Get with it.

Words taken out:

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

Words put in:

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



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