PDA

View Full Version : Words culled from children's dictionary in the name of diversity



aruna
12-08-2008, 11:36 AM
I was horrified to read this article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3569045/Words-associated-with-Christianity-and-British-history-taken-out-of-childrens-dictionary.html) today.


Oxford University Press has removed words like "aisle", "bishop", "chapel", "empire" and "monarch" from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like "blog", "broadband" and "celebrity". Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.
The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.

This is hard to believe. Isn't a dictionary about looking up words you don't know? Why would a modern child want to look up "celebrity"? If they come across a word like "chapel" in a book (do they even read any more?) what are they to do?

I am a great proponent of diversty and multiculturalism but this is just grotesque. If these words (and their meanings) are dying then all the more reason to save them! To lose them would be to carve a huge vacuum into Britain's soul.

The comments trail has some interesting observations, for instance:

An illuminating example of "new" International English that resembles Orwell's warnings about "Newspeak."

Some folks, especially in ivory towers, seem to confuse cultural heritage with original sin.
Examples of words removed:

Acorn, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, buttercup, canary, catkin, clover, dandelion,

And words added:

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, conflict, EU, drought, compulsory, cope, dyslexic, MP3.

What do you think? Cultural vandalism, or reality?

Nakhlasmoke
12-08-2008, 11:40 AM
Oh my word. That is so dumb.

I agree 100% with you, Aruna. Dictionaries are to find the meanings of the words you don't know...so excising those that are not in regular use seems counter-productive.

aruna
12-08-2008, 12:00 PM
Going overboard like this is likely to do far more harm to the idea of diversity than good. The idea should be to respect other faiths and cultures, not ban the traditional one!
It doesn't help that the editor of this dictionary has an Indian name. Many of the commentors are coming out strong with the idea that "they're" destroying our culture.

qwerty
12-08-2008, 12:06 PM
Oh brilliant - the names of flora and fauna have been removed because of the decrease in the numbers of kids who live in semi-rural environments and see the seasons!

So they don't need to know what an otter or an acorn is? However, it's apparently important for them to know the definition of bungee jumping!

My guess is that they don't teach Britain's history anymore, so the backbone on which British society was built can go out of the window along with words like "decade". Sure, Britain is multi-cultural nowadays, but why isn't it important for kids from other cultures and parts of the world to have some historic knowledge of the country that has become their home?

dclary
12-08-2008, 01:02 PM
Why does this surprise you? Any of you?

There are words you aren't even allowed to say anywhere in our society, and God (and man on earth) damn you if you think them or write them -- unless you're a certain color, then it's ok. Well, it's not ok. But it's allowed.

There are words that aren't allowed on television, or radio.

There are words that aren't allowed on this forum.

Is it a surprise, then, that words are removed from dictionaries? How better to help prepare children for words that "aren't proper" for daily conversation than to not have to bother with teaching them those words at all?

I don't like this system. I don't espouse this system. But I live within it, and I have to abide by it if I'm to survive within it.

Be surprised by it? Not me.

LisaHy
12-08-2008, 01:38 PM
And words added:

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, conflict, EU, drought, compulsory, cope, dyslexic, MP3.


While I do agree that the subtraction of words is down right pathetic, I also have to wonder why (with the exception of EU and MP3) these words weren't in there in the first place...

Cheers, Lisa.

Beach Bunny
12-08-2008, 01:39 PM
Oxford University Press has removed words like "aisle", "bishop", "chapel", "empire" and "monarch" from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like "blog", "broadband" and "celebrity".
I've bolded "Junior Dictionary" here because I think that is an important distinction. They aren't removing these words from "the" dictionary or "the unabridged" dictionary, they are removing them from the "Junior" dictionary. If I remember correctly a "junior" dictionary is a very slim volume and thus the number of words that can be included is a lot smaller than in a regular-sized dictionary much less an unabridged dictionary. My guess is that Oxford University Press revised the dictionary to put in the words that a child most likely would need to look up.

My 77 year old mother can tell a child what a "chapel" is, she couldn't tell them what "broadband" or a "blog" is. And if she told that child what she used to tell me when she didn't know the definition of a word, "go look it up in the dictionary", then they would have been out of luck, because the word wouldn't have been there. :)

:Shrug:

dpaterso
12-08-2008, 01:42 PM
Isn't a children's dictionary by definition a short collection of words most likely to be encountered in life? A primer, rather than a be-all source of knowledge.

Some new, relevant words get added, with the result that some words get knocked out to keep the dictionary short. What's the big deal?

If they need to learn more words, the bigger books are always there. Hell, they should be encouraged to seek the bigger books out anyway, and this is one way of ensuring this happens. It's not as if the missing words have been deleted from the language.

ETA: dammit, cross-posted with Beach Bunny!

-Derek

Beach Bunny
12-08-2008, 01:47 PM
ETA: dammit, cross-posted with Beach Bunny!

-Derek
:e2file: .... snooze, you lose. ;)

aruna
12-08-2008, 03:15 PM
I've bolded "Junior Dictionary" here because I think that is an important distinction. They aren't removing these words from "the" dictionary or "the unabridged" dictionary, they are removing them from the "Junior" dictionary. If I remember correctly a "junior" dictionary is a very slim volume and thus the number of words that can be included is a lot smaller than in a regular-sized dictionary much less an unabridged dictionary. My guess is that Oxford University Press revised the dictionary to put in the words that a child most likely would need to look up.

My 77 year old mother can tell a child what a "chapel" is, she couldn't tell them what "broadband" or a "blog" is. And if she told that child what she used to tell me when she didn't know the definition of a word, "go look it up in the dictionary", then they would have been out of luck, because the word wouldn't have been there. :)

:Shrug:

But what's the point of having a Junior Dictionary full of words children are already familiar with, words they hear every day such as broadband and ipod, while leaving out exactly those words they might come across in books and need to look up? That defeats the very purpose of a dictionary - even a children's dictionary.

Yes, our vocabulary has expanded so I guess children's dictionaries need to get bigger.
It would not even matter so much were it not for the fact that this is endemic of British society today; what I see is a determined effort to wipe out every tradition, everything "old", in favour of some shallow cultural multicultural brew. I find the editor's words very telling:

We are also much more multicultural. People don't go to Church as often as before. Our understanding of religion is within multiculturalism, which is why some words such as "Pentecost" or "Whitsun" would have been in 20 years ago but not now.
So I am asking: are words such as Ramadan, mosque, imam and Diwali in the dictionary? If so, then we are indeed seeing something more than just words removed for practicality.
0

qwerty
12-08-2008, 03:55 PM
aruna, I see your point.

I noticed that, along with other words pertaining to Christmas, the word "carol" has been removed. Yet I understand that Brit kids in Brit schools are learning songs in Urdu or whatever. I just don't get this. Families have come from different cultures and countries to live in Britain. Why is it that it's Brit nationals who have to adapt rather than the other way round?

Britain has a monarch. She is also the head of her country's religion - which happens to be a Christian religion. But, in order to accomodate an ever growing multi-cultural society, words relating to Christianity and monarchy are removed from a dictionery. Those basic things are part of Britain's heritage, but they are getting lost.

If you choose to live in a country that is not your own, it should be expected that you adapt to that country's ways. I've lived in two Islamic states because of my husband's employment. It would not have crossed my mind to go out in public with my shoulders uncovered, or to even drink from a water bottle in public during Ramadan. To me, this is about respect for the culture of the country you live in.

Don
12-08-2008, 03:57 PM
Is it a surprise, then, that words are removed from dictionaries? How better to help prepare children for words that "aren't proper" for daily conversation than to not have to bother with teaching them those words at all?

I don't like this system. I don't espouse this system. But I live within it, and I have to abide by it if I'm to survive within it.

Be surprised by it? Not me.
No, it shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all those of us who are writers. We know the power of words, and that ideas for which you have no words are all but impossible to discuss.

I've bolded "Junior Dictionary" here because I think that is an important distinction.
I don't even remember such a thing as a 'junior dictionary' from my youth. We had 'abridged' dictionaries we carried or kept at home, and the whole honking thing set open on a table at the front of every classroom in case we needed it. The concept that some words were appropriate for 'juniors' and others were not never crossed my mind as a child.

It would not even matter so much were it not for the fact that this is endemic of British society today; what I see is a determined effort to wipe out every tradition, everything "old", in favour of some shallow cultural multicultural brew.
Those who protested politically correct speech from the very first were looked on as loons, but the endgame was obvious although the supporters of political correctness never acknowledge it.

Even today, most liberals don't see the very critical connection between the first and second amendments in the U.S. Constitution.

If you take people's guns from them, they can't defend their self, and you can control their bodies.

It's even more critical to take people's words, for then they can't defend their thoughts. Without freedom of thought, there is no self to defend, and you can control their minds.

aruna
12-08-2008, 04:17 PM
For me, it's a matter of "as well as" Christianity, not "instead of".
Britain's whole history is rooted in the Christian tradition and it one of the things that has given it's charm as well as its strength. Chop away at that base and you will literally get a rootless society without values and standards. This is happening more and more today, and it is sad to see.

I agree that there is really no need for a Junior Dictionary. We never had such things in my time. And our hands were just as small.

NeuroFizz
12-08-2008, 05:04 PM
Since when is MP3 a word? It's a model number for an electronic device. Are they giving equal space to the model numbers of the competitors' electronic devices?

Don
12-08-2008, 05:12 PM
Chop away at that base and you will literally get a rootless society without values and standards. This is happening more and more today, and it is sad to see.

And who, or what, will step in to fill that void? Cui Bono? Always follow the money, so to speak. George Orwell simply missed the year, IMO.

tehuti88
12-08-2008, 07:31 PM
Acorns, canaries, and dandelions don't exist anymore, then?? Weird.

I don't see why words have to be cut from a dictionary in order to add new ones. I mean, language is always growing, so why can't dictionaries? Is the language going to run out of room or something?

If it's just a matter of how much it costs to publish a bigger dictionary, I think that's a shame to cut words based on that reason, but at least leave in the words of most lasting importance. I think knowing what an acorn or a dandelion is is far more important than knowing what broadband or an MP3 player is.

*reads a few more posts*

I'm liberal BTW, and I fail to see how this could be related to that. I find this concept stupid too, so where did that idea come from?? I don't think everything has to boil down to politics. Even the reasons given by the publisher sound false to me. I don't think it has much to do with "multiculturalism" etc. etc. at all. Don't even pagans find things like acorns and dandelions important?

I think this has far more to do with trying to be "trendy" and with making money than it has to do with being more diverse.

Shadow_Ferret
12-08-2008, 07:57 PM
Examples of words removed:

Acorn, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, buttercup, canary, catkin, clover, dandelion,

OK, if this is a JUNIOR dictionary, I would think these words would need to be in there. Don't kids in Britain get outside at all? Are they all urban and never see an acorn or a dandelion?

This is just weird.

And you'd think they'd keep blackberry, just change the meaning to a hand-held personal data thingie. :)

Dave.C.Robinson
12-08-2008, 08:46 PM
They took out BACON!

That's the one that gets me. I can understand limiting words that children might not need to know given the space in a junior dictionary, but not the removal of bacon.

That's just wrong.

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 09:01 PM
I agree it's stupid, but at the same time, I think it's important to remember--as others have pointed out--that it is a "Junior" dictionary. It's going to be smaller. It's not going to have as many words in the first place. If they could include all of them, it's not going to be "Junior" anymore.

Some of the new additions are ridiculous. Celebrity? MP3 (which is an electronic format, not a device, by the way)? But let's be honest: how often do kids run into beetroots and blacksmiths these days? And conversely, you'd actually be surprised how many people don't know what broadband is, even if they use it every day.

And as for losing their Christian culture? Really? Many years ago, when I was in kindergarten, we learned songs from all over the world. We sang in Swahili, Spanish, Portuguese...etc. We might have sang some traditional Christmas songs. We might not have. Honestly, I don't remember. But really, I got enough Christmas at home, at friends, everywhere else. And we weren't even Christian. Why learn about something you already see everywhere?

I understand the worry. But it's up to a society, up to the parents and children, up to the home to preserve a culture. Not school. Not a dictionary.

aruna
12-08-2008, 09:32 PM
[QUOTE]I agree it's stupid, but at the same time, I think it's important to remember--as others have pointed out--that it is a "Junior" dictionary. It's going to be smaller. It's not going to have as many words in the first place. If they could include all of them, it's not going to be "Junior" anymore.

But they removed twice as many words as they put in! Something is going on here....


But let's be honest: how often do kids run into beetroots and blacksmiths these days? And conversely, you'd actually be surprised how many people don't know what broadband is, even if they use it every day.
Blacksmith, I grant you; at least in the UK they are fairly obsolete, unless you are of the small minority keep horses, in which case they are not. But beetroots can be seen in any grocery. Just the other week I bought beetroots and made Borscht. And what about coming across these words in books not understanding them, and looking them up? Isn't that what dictionaries are for?


Why learn about something you already see everywhere?

Not in England. Trust me on this. This is the epitome of the 100% secular society. There is nothing Christian to be seen or heard anywhere; except for a few old buildings attended by a few old people on Sundays. There is nothing at all Christian about Christmas. To date I have not seen one single Christian symbol, heard one single Christian carol this season. It's all snowmen, Santa Claus and Jingle Bells


I understand the worry. But it's up to a society, up to the parents and children, up to the home to preserve a culture. Not school. Not a dictionary.

For a child's spiritual life, yes, the parents and the home are responsible.
But a school's task is to educate, and for a society whose history is so enmeshed in Christianity and the monarchy as the UK, removing words like bishop and empire from the dictionary is just... well. *Shakes head*
So are they not goiung to teach history any more????
0

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 09:39 PM
But they removed twice as many words as they put in! Something is going on here....

Well that's idiotic..



Not in the England. Trust me on this. This is the epitome of the 100% secular society. There is nothing Christian to be seen or heard anywhere; except for a few old buildings attended by a few old people on Sundays. There is nothing at all Christian about Christmas. To date I have not seen one single Christian symbol, heard one single Christian carol this season. It's all snowmen and Santa Claus.

Is that simply how people choose to live, or is it a result of something else?

If it's the former, well, societies evolve. If it's the latter, I agree it could be a problem.




But a school's task is to educate, and for a society whose history is so enmeshed in Christianity and the monarchy as the UK, removing words like bishop and empire from the dictionary is just... well.

Shakes head.

So are they not goiung to teach history any more????

I agree.


Ultimately, though, it comes down to what kids need to look up the most. I have no idea what process they used to decide? Did they actually do research, or was it at some lunatic's whim?

aruna
12-08-2008, 09:50 PM
If it's the former, well, societies evolve. If it's the latter, I agree it could be a problem.



In this case, I would not call it evolution. It's erosion.
Trust me again, this place is slowly breaking apart, crumbling at its roots. You see it everywhere, especially weekend nights where scores of young people, teenagers, are delivered into hospitals because they have drunk themselves into unconsciousness; where many teenage girls choose single motherhood as a career move; where binge drinking is just normal teen behaviour.

Here's a chilling story of something that happened near my home last weekend, and it's not unusual at all. And yes, it's the parents who are at fault here, but thirty years ago those parents would have been churchgoing Christians and known how to raise their daughter.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1092386/March-Facebook-mob-The-chilling-story-precocious-girl-ruthless-internet-gang.html

I hate to come across as fuddy-duddy, and yes, I know that atheists can be just as ethical and good and moral as Christians. And I myself am also not Christian; but I have no doubt that these developments are not good things, and that a religion can play an important part in preventing them.
0

dclary
12-08-2008, 09:59 PM
I understand the worry. But it's up to a society, up to the parents and children, up to the home to preserve a culture. Not school. Not a dictionary.

I disagree. If you rely on homes to teach culture -- homes where the parents themselves learned nothing of their culture at school, but just what was handed down to them, eventually all of your "culture" is tainted with personal biases and irrational abberations caused by ignorance.

The renaissance, our world's greatest explosion of art and knowledge happened when colleges and governments began actively supporting and teaching the cultural heritage of the nearly forgotten greco-roman ages. Had Europe left the teaching of "culture" to the home and church, we'd likely still be in the dark ages the church wanted us in. Uneducated, unaware of our proud history, never knowing the vast wealth of history and tradition that each person has.

When I travel to Virginia, and I walk along the revolutionary war sites, I see the mass graves of confederate and union soldiers, and I see the hundreds of years of history that America has enriched its soil with (and in the UK, you've got hundreds and HUNDREDS of years of history likewise), it makes me weep that the most any kid's going to get out of their history textbook is that "The United States fought against England, winning their independence," or "The Civil War was fought primarily over states' rights and slavery." -- Because those chapters have been reduced to make room for sections on Barry Bonds and the iPod.

nevada
12-08-2008, 10:04 PM
Excuse me Aruna but where in that article does it say that the parents are not churchgoing Christians and didn't raise their daughter right? In a thread about words in or not in a dictionary, I'm extremely offended that you chose to reduce it to Christian or not Christian and the assertion that only religion can save children. It is a patently false assertion because it presumes that religious people always raise their children right and that religious people do not abuse their kids or neglect them, and even you must admit that that is absolutely not true.

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 10:14 PM
yes, I know that atheists can be just as ethical and good and moral as Christians.

I'd leave it at that.

But I also want to mention not all non-Christians are atheists. Nor is everyone secular an atheist. Nor am I an atheist.

Also, it's just as possible for religious people to be morally corrupt and engage in risky behavior.


I disagree. If you rely on homes to teach culture -- homes where the parents themselves learned nothing of their culture at school, but just what was handed down to them, eventually all of your "culture" is tainted with personal biases and irrational abberations caused by ignorance.

The renaissance, our world's greatest explosion of art and knowledge happened when colleges and governments began actively supporting and teaching the cultural heritage of the nearly forgotten greco-roman ages. Had Europe left the teaching of "culture" to the home and church, we'd likely still be in the dark ages the church wanted us in. Uneducated, unaware of our proud history, never knowing the vast wealth of history and tradition that each person has.

When I travel to Virginia, and I walk along the revolutionary war sites, I see the mass graves of confederate and union soldiers, and I see the hundreds of years of history that America has enriched its soil with (and in the UK, you've got hundreds and HUNDREDS of years of history likewise), it makes me weep that the most any kid's going to get out of their history textbook is that "The United States fought against England, winning their independence," or "The Civil War was fought primarily over states' rights and slavery." -- Because those chapters have been reduced to make room for sections on Barry Bonds and the iPod.

There's a difference between teaching about cultures, teaching history, and teaching culture itself.

I disagree with the latter.

The problem is that in a diverse society, everyone comes from a different culture. I don't know about England...but in America it would mean teaching Christian culture, teaching Asian culture, teaching African culture, teaching Irish culture, teaching Zuni culture.

Now, I've learned about all of those (save for Zuni...) in school. But as part of history and social studies. There's a different between preserving and practicing one's own culture and hearing about it.

aruna
12-08-2008, 10:16 PM
I agree with you, deek.
I grew up with very little sense of cultural roots, but by a happy misunderstanding my mother sent me to an English boarding school which, unbeknown to her, happened to be very strongly rooted in the Church of England and general English tradition and culture. I learned so much at that school, and all of it good; things I would never have learned from my home life, things I remember to this day without even trying. It made me a better person. It passed on to me the kind of emotional stability and sense of culture that I desperately needed; it's not easy, growing up with progressive, atheist parents, where every decision is up to the individual! You can sometimes feel like a wheel without an axle, lumbering in all different directions. I owe so much to that school...

As a result I have a foot in both worlds, progressive AND conservative, and appreciate both; and I believe that today, in a world where parents like mine are more the norm, a strong sense of historical, cultural and spiritual roots can only reliably be passed on by good schools, and not by families.

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 10:19 PM
As a result I have a foot in both worlds, progressive AND conservative, and appreciate both; and I believe that today, in a world where parents like mine are more the norm, a strong sense of historical, cultural and spiritual roots can only reliably be passed on by good schools, and not by families.

I understand where you're coming from, but what happens in a society with many diverse cultures?

Of course private schools are an answer, but what about public schools?

aruna
12-08-2008, 10:22 PM
I'd leave it at that.

But I also want to mention not all non-Christians are atheists. Nor is everyone secular an atheist. Nor am I an atheist.

Also, it's just as possible for religious people to be morally corrupt and engage in risky behavior.

:) I am not an atheist either; I only said that as a pre-empt, in case anyone came up with the "atheists can be moral too" argument...
I can easily imagine a secular society that is well behaved and works well. Sadly, that is not the case in Merrie Olde England.

As for the second part of your sentence... a person who is morally corrupt is, by my definition, not religious, even if he or she may profess to be.


0

aruna
12-08-2008, 10:27 PM
I understand where you're coming from, but what happens in a society with many diverse cultures?

Of course private schools are an answer, but what about public schools?

A society with many diverse cultures and faiths is actually my preferred model, and it can work very well if each respects the other and even encourage participation in the celebrations of the other. In the past year I have been to Hindu temples, Christian churches, a Sikh and a Buddhist temple, and I know several people who like to cross-pollinate, while remaining rooted in their own preferred faith. Why not?

I've no answer to your second question. I guess it's up to individual teachers. A brilliant teacher can perform miracles.
0

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 10:32 PM
I've no answer to your second question. I guess it's up to individual teachers. A brilliant teacher can perform miracles.

:Shrug:

I only know one small town in the world with any schools that would teach my culture.

And even then, I prefer it taught at home.

maxmordon
12-08-2008, 10:46 PM
This is just awful; instead of rising the level of knowledge from children, they dumber down just to be "adequate". I mean, eliminating decade? What the heck? My fondest memories is searching around dictionaries, discovering new words (That's how I found Maxmordón).

But no, instead of rising knowledge and interest on history, nature and tradition they just add what is heard more and what's more certain a lot of children know already. You can't give back to the roots.

Their excuse is that live in a modern, multicultural and multireligious society; but do Pagans don't care about cauliflower, chestnut, clover? Or Atheists don't have the need to know about newt, raven or ox? or Hindus about decade, empire or monarch? Some of these words are just common sense to know (something that ironically the dictionary add but seems to lack of)

I agree, know dictionaries (even children's, junior, whatever) need to be larger but that's not excuse to cut down the double of what you add.

eLfwriter
12-08-2008, 10:54 PM
Examples of words removed:

Acorn, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, buttercup, canary, catkin, clover, dandelion,

And words added:

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, conflict, EU, drought, compulsory, cope, dyslexic, MP3.

What do you think? Cultural vandalism, or reality?


Why do they have to take the words out of the dictionary? Why can't they just add the "new" words, too? I mean, cutting 'bacon' and 'dandelion' from the dictionary seems kinda harsh to me ...


Does that mean if I use the word 'Blacksmith' to describe a blacksmith character in my fantasy WiP, I've technically "invented" a new word, since it "doesn't exist"?

eLfy is boggled. :( Why do we have to sacrifice perfectly good words?

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 10:55 PM
Perhaps it is a conspiracy to get us to buy the full version.

I know when I was a kid, whenever I really needed to look up a word, I could never find it in an abridged dictionary, anyway.

October
12-08-2008, 10:56 PM
Brb, facepalming forever.

That's really awful. I mean, some of those words taken out you don't hear very much about or read very much abotu either. So when you run into one of them and you're one of these kids, then what? "Sol, kid"?

A couple of those words they added might be useful, like compulsory or dyslexic, but like a couple other people are saying, why not just add them with the others?

Grrrrr, people make me sad.

dclary
12-08-2008, 10:58 PM
I'm really surprised they removed blackberry.

Maybe just change its definition?

"noun. A small, dark, semisweet fruit grown on bushes."

to

"noun. A small, push-mail-enabled cell phone and web browsing device."

benbradley
12-08-2008, 11:04 PM
They took out blackberry? Has the iPhone replaced it already? </snarky>
From the article:

But academics and head teachers said that the changes to the 10,000 word Junior Dictionary could mean that children lose touch with Britain's heritage.
<more snarky>
Just how much "heritage" can you put into what is admittedly a hugely abridged dictionary meant as a "main dictionary" for children?

Also, what is this Oxford University Press? Is it the only entity authorized to compile and publish a dictionary for children? I doubt it, unless Brittain is a bit more 'out there' than I thought.

BTW, I'm looking forward to the Aruna Children's Dictionary of British Christian Heritage and Western Culture. ;)

kuwisdelu
12-08-2008, 11:06 PM
I remember when the RAZR first came out...

I went to a private school with some rather rich, preppy snobs.

Someone mentioned a classmate had bought himself a gold-plated RAZR for his birthday.

I said I thought it would be pretty cool to shave every morning with a gold straight-edge...

TrickyFiction
12-08-2008, 11:07 PM
I know when I was a kid, whenever I really needed to look up a word, I could never find it in an abridged dictionary, anyway.

Same here. I've been using the family giant since before I could lift it.

Sizing a dictionary down to make it less weighty will become a thing of the past soon anyway. I see electronic dictionaries in our future. And all the children will say, "wtf is this paper brick for?" And their friends will answer them: "idkstfu."

eLfwriter
12-08-2008, 11:25 PM
eLfy is still boggled ... :(


I love the dictionary! There are a lot of good words that don't get enough attention. Like 'synchronicity' or 'acherontic'. Good words. :D But because they aren't common words, does that make them any less important to know than 'celebrity' or 'broadband'?

My best English teacher had no less than twenty different dictionaries on the bookshelf behind his desk, and he encouraged us to check out the differences between each edition. Some were from overseas, some were older, one was his very first dictionary ever ... I noticed a lot of words added in every new addition, but I never noticed any words being taken out. Maybe I just didn't look closely enough ...

Maybe it's just something about writing books, but I love words. I can't imagine giving up a bunch of words even in a 'limited' dictionary. It's frustrating, to me anyway, flipping through the dictionary and not being able to find the entry I need. What if I ever needed the term 'clover'? Would I have to go to the biology lab?

Don't get me wrong. I understand and agree with the arguments about it being an 'abridged' or 'junior' or 'whatever' dictionary, but if the publisher is cutting 'dandelion' and 'decade' from the small dictionary now, will it start cutting 'dandelion' and 'decade' from the 'real' dictionary tomorrow?

I sure hope not. :( I don't want to have to go to a word funeral.

"We're gathered here today to remember 'acorn', a word that was once beloved by all but is now sadly forgotten ..."

Perpetually boggled. That's me. I understand the arguments, but I'm still boggled.

Just plain boggled.

eLfwriter
12-08-2008, 11:33 PM
I see electronic dictionaries in our future. And all the children will say, "wtf is this paper brick for?" And their friends will answer them: "idkstfu."

Hah! I think we do need entire dictionaries revolving around text language. I had to go ask my friend at the next desk what 'idkstfu' meant. You can probably guess how that conversation just went.

eLfy: Hey, Chrissy, what does 'idkstfu' stand for?

Chrissy: (doesn't look up) I don't know, shut the ****! up.

eLfy: (affronted) Hey, fine, if you don't know just say so. You don't have to swear at me.

Chrissy; Nononono ... That's what it stands for.

eLfy: ... oh.


So maybe a texting dictionary wouldn't be all so bad. I'd have to purchase one, at least.

eLfy is oblivious to texting language ... cannot decipher it ...

Does that make me a weirdo? @_@

Red-Green
12-08-2008, 11:35 PM
I just want to say how much I appreciate the use of the word "culled" in the post title. I'm imagining a helicopter flying over the dictionary steppes, and someone with a high-powered rifle leaning out to pick out the old and infirm members of the language herd. Now I am sad. :cry:

Dale Emery
12-08-2008, 11:35 PM
What criteria would you use to decide which words to add and which to remove?

Dale

Dave.C.Robinson
12-09-2008, 12:03 AM
When dealing with a junior dictionary I would want to focus on words that might not be in common use but would be important for understanding the normal school curriculum for children at that level. So in the UK, I would think words like 'empire' and 'monarch' would be important because they are vital to understanding British History.

kuwisdelu
12-09-2008, 12:06 AM
And words added:

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, conflict, EU, drought, compulsory, cope, dyslexic, MP3.

What do you think? Cultural vandalism, or reality?

I didn't catch this earlier, but I thought I'd point out the irony that if I didn't know what cultural vandalism was, and I wanted to look "vandalism" up in my Junior dictionary, before now, I wouldn't have found it :D

dclary
12-09-2008, 01:02 AM
A child needs to know what interdependent means, but not what an acorn is?


I think I'll go join my ancestors on the trail of tears. The "new world" is an affront to the old one I was already living in.

benbradley
12-09-2008, 01:04 AM
Same here. I've been using the family giant since before I could lift it.

Sizing a dictionary down to make it less weighty will become a thing of the past soon anyway. I see electronic dictionaries in our future. And all the children will say, "wtf is this paper brick for?" And their friends will answer them: "idkstfu."
The average iPod or iPhone can hold the text of Encyclopedia Brittanica (all editions), but all that flash memory tends to get used for other purposes (Hit me baby one more time!).

I can imagine the same response to "how many words (English, not computer) can you put in a GB of Flash memory?"* or even "What's a gigabyte?"

When I got my first computer with a hard disk (XT clone, 20MB) 25 years ago a gigabyte was theoretical amount of storage equal to 50 book-sized metal boxes at a total cost of $30,000.

The future would be here if only there were a big enough market for it, but few people want a dictionary on their iPhone. They really don't need one anyway, as they can run the web browser and go to m-w.com, dictionary.com or some other dictionary site. No doubt there's a dictionary for the Kindle.

About as soon as a child can read and understands how to look up words in a dictionary, he or she should have one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/Merriam-Websters-Collegiate-Dictionary-Binding-Jacket/dp/0877798087

Save on buying an unabridged one until the child enters high school.


* At a liberal average of 10 bytes (characters) per word (ten-letter words should cover even the most "literary" works), 100 million words.

kuwisdelu
12-09-2008, 01:13 AM
The average iPod or iPhone can hold the text of Encyclopedia Brittanica (all editions), but all that flash memory tends to get used for other purposes (Hit me baby one more time!).

The Concise OED is $24.99 on the app store. I'm waiting on either an update to the UI or the full version. The concise version is 34.3 MB, 240,000 words.

aruna
12-09-2008, 12:19 PM
Excuse me Aruna but where in that article does it say that the parents are not churchgoing Christians and didn't raise their daughter right?

In a thread about words in or not in a dictionary, I'm extremely offended that you chose to reduce it to Christian or not Christian and the assertion that only religion can save children. It is a patently false assertion because it presumes that religious people always raise their children right and that religious people do not abuse their kids or neglect them, and even you must admit that that is absolutely not true.

Sorry, I missed this earlier. My answer to the first question is: nowhere. I was not targeting this family particularly as being non-Christians, though I certainly believe they didn't raise their daughter well. That's one spoilt brat!

My argument is that the disappearance of Christianity from public life and its importance for society has left a vacuum in British society which has not yet been filled with anything else; the result being every man/woman for him/herself, and many if not most modern parents are floundering, for their children have replaced Christian ideals with the ideals of the crowd. That's what this girl did, and her parents were helpless against it.

I myself have a very strict definition of "religious", as I said above; to be religous, in my book, means walking the walk much more than talking the talk, so anyone who abuses their kids is by definition NOT religious. As it's a walk of love and compassion. And the effort counts; nobody is a perfect parent.

What I did NOT say or assume is that "only religion can save children". I'm saying that if you do not have religion then you need to find a code of living, a code of behaviour, a code of self-reflection and self-correction and conscience that is equally binding, and provide it for your children and help your children along it. It is very difficult. I am sure there are non-religious individual families who do that. My own parents, unfortunately, failed to do so, and many others do in modern societies. It is very much a case of "do what you want, you have a right to fulfill all your desires", and that as a life philosophy is IMO the beginning of the rot. I believe it is spreading in today's England.

aruna
12-09-2008, 12:33 PM
OK, I did a word count.

Words taken out: 154

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 added: 62


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



So where's the justification, "we had to make room for the new words? Bollocks!

On ething that strikes me is that the words removed are mostly beautiful, soft words, words of charm and inspiration, the words of poets.

The new words are mostly hard, cold, glassy. Imagine writing a poem using them.
Though I wonder why "childhood", "boisterous" and a few others weren't in already.
.................................................. .....

Oh, and Ferret: you're out!

aruna
12-09-2008, 02:29 PM
Slight thread derail...I just checked out my old school, to see what has become of it. Here it is. (http://www.hlc.org.uk/HLC/hlc.html)
Sounds as great as ever! This is what school should be like.

, HLC has become our second family. Staff are just as much our friends as our teachers and the girls we meet become mates for life from all corners of the globe. The academic statistics speak for themselves but College does not just provide the opportunities for girls to flourish academically…

…we also know how to meet and greet in Mandarin, memorise 78 different sung amens, trail across unmarked countryside armed with a map and compass, deliver a speech on why Jeremy Clarkson should be prime minister, lob lacrosse balls across a muddy pitch (in the rain), raise crazy amounts of cash for charity, get on TV, run up a ball gown, bake the most amazing cookies, eat copious amounts of biscuits, shoot films...you get the picture.

And it's still very Christian (http://www.hlc.org.uk/HLC/about_chapel.html)

benbradley
12-10-2008, 12:04 AM
OK, I did a word count.

Words taken out: 154


Words added: 62




So where's the justification, "we had to make room for the new words? Bollocks!
Maybe the new words have longer definitions, so the whole thing still takes up the same amount of text. I can see, for example, where "MP3 player" would discuss the concepts of psychoacoustic masking and modern digital signal processing. ;)