You've heard of the Oxford Junior Dictionary right? Well, like all dictionaries, it is updated to include new words or changing definitions. Including slang words is common practice. Afterall, a dictionary isn't a collection for elitist word lovers. It's a mirror of our society.
But when contemporary words replace perfectly good words, and worse, words referring to nature, then what does that say about our society?
Oxford University Press has cut terms such as heron, budgerigar, doe, magpie, otter, acorn, clover, ivy, goldfish, piglet, beetroot, sycamore, willow, almond, panther, porcupine, raven, newt, carnation, leopard, melon, rhubarb, and blackberry.
How's this for a slap in the face? The electronic Blackberry was inserted instead. Other words they included were; blog, MP3 player, voicemail, broadband, as well as vandalism, allergic, curriculum, and celebrity.
There is something about this that makes me feel so sad.
From the criteria they use to select words, one is which words are commonly misspelled. Oh! That makes sense now. I can see how blog is so much more difficult than budgerigar.
And you notice something else? A favouring of abstract concepts over terms reflecting the tangible environment. You see it? An outdoor life touching, sensing, moving, jumping, catching, frolicking, towards an indoor life of entire worlds exiting in a digital box. Where goes the simple life for our children?
"This dictionary is not designed for children to use as they progress higher up the school years, and should be regarded as an introduction to language and the practice of using dictionaries," said a statement from OUP.
I'm glad about that. I was concerned it was in the dictionaries for older kids too. It's good to know that it's to introduce the language world to our children. It's quite important they know the term broadband early.
I conservationist and advocate for nature connection claimed,
"If you can't name things, how can you love them?"
I don't agree with that statement. Things are before we name them, and often a deeper connection can be formed if language is kept at bay. But that aside, dictionaries are a source of learning for most children and excluding terms of nature does not help to support a link to nature.
Do you feel this issue is important? Does it matter that much what goes into a dictionary? Or are kids going to learn terms anyway? Is it a matter of principle? Who would remove such a cool word as newt?