Monday, December 8, 2008

There Are No Words...

...well, perhaps a few words. One might be tempted to think that Oxford Universtity Press would be a publisher with the collective desire to support a rich, robust education of children rather than to allow the undertow of culture to drown that ideal. But thinking such as that is evidently nothing more than a relic from a bygone era. No, let us not be left in the dust of antiquated reasoning from before 2003; let us instead move forward, looking to Britain for leadership in the restructuring of educational tools to better reflect a "modern, multicultural, multifaith society" (OUP's words). What are they publishing then? This.


Anthony said...

Finally! I can't tell you how many times I've opened a dictionary and wondered why they keep printing the definition of 'marzipan' - clearly everyone knows exactly what that is (never will there be any need for clarification again).

And, if you think about it, we can save some of these words like 'ivy', 'mistletoe', or 'holly' for our special "Dictionary: Holiday Edition" - a perfect stocking stuffer!

Sarcasm aside, I think the most troubling thing is not only the attempted restriction of childrens' vocabulary, but the selection of words offered up as a replacement. "Blog?" "Cut and paste?" And let's not forget our favorite 21st century buzzword: "tolerant" (that one almost snuck past me on the list). What sort of message is this sending about the focus of our priorities?

Really, I must draw the line at the horrendous wrenching of one of my favorite words from this hallowed resource; what is childhood without..."bacon"??

Sarah Geis said...

Anthony my friend,

I mourn the loss of "bacon" with you. And really, if these people were as in touch with mainstream techno-culture as they claim, they would not have removed "blackberry," but would have simply added another definition to it.

Daniel said...

In the growing secularization that is Britain I'm not surprised that "Christian words" are taken out. But words related to British history and subsequently the monarchy? Bizarre to say the least!

Sarah Geis said...


I agree. Also, I believe that the vastness of the removed words reflects the spread of (some legitimate, but most falsely cultivated) anglo/Christian/imperial guilt. According to the mind of the age, it is time to put all that away lest it offend someone, never mind the case for historical education. What on earth would Churchill think?