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 Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary

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Maxmordon
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PostSubject: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:02 pm

Words associated with Christianity, the monarchy and British history have been dropped from a leading dictionary for children.

Julie Henry, Education Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:48PM GMT 08 Dec 2008


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.

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.

"We have a certain Christian narrative which has given meaning to us over the last 2,000 years. To say it is all relative and replaceable is questionable," said Professor Alan Smithers, the director of the centre for education and employment at Buckingham University. "The word selections are a very interesting reflection of the way childhood is going, moving away from our spiritual background and the natural world and towards the world that information technology creates for us."

An analysis of the word choices made by the dictionary lexicographers has revealed that entries from "abbey" to "willow" have been axed. Instead, words such as "MP3 player", "voicemail" and "attachment" have taken their place.

Lisa Saunders, a worried mother who has painstakingly compared entries from the junior dictionaries, aimed at children aged seven or over, dating from 1978, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, said she was "horrified" by the vast number of words that have been removed, most since 2003.

"The Christian faith still has a strong following," she said. "To eradicate so many words associated with the Christianity will have a big effect on the numerous primary schools who use it."

Ms Saunders realised words were being removed when she was helping her son with his homework and discovered that "moss" and "fern", which were in editions up until 2003, were no longer listed.

"I decide to take a closer look and compare the new version to the other editions," said the mother of four from Co Down, Northern Ireland. "I was completely horrified by the vast number of words which have been removed. We know that language moves on and we can't be fuddy-duddy about it but you don't cull hundreds of important words in order to get in a different set of ICT words."

Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, a leading private school in Berkshire, said: "I am stunned that words like "saint", "buttercup", "heather" and "sycamore" have all gone and I grieve it.

"I think as well as being descriptive, the Oxford Junior Dictionary, has to be prescriptive too, suggesting not just words that are used but words that should be used. It has a duty to keep these words within usage, not merely pander to an audience. We are looking at the loss of words of great beauty. I would rather have "marzipan" and "mistletoe" then "MP3 player."

Oxford University Press, which produces the junior edition, selects words with the aid of the Children's Corpus, a list of about 50 million words made up of general language, words from children's books and terms related to the school curriculum. Lexicographers consider word frequency when making additions and deletions.

Vineeta Gupta, the head of children's dictionaries at Oxford University Press, said: "We are limited by how big the dictionary can be – little hands must be able to handle it – but we produce 17 children's dictionaries with different selections and numbers of words.

"When you look back at older versions of dictionaries, there were lots of examples of flowers for instance. That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed. 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."

She said children's dictionaries were trialed in schools and advice taken from teachers. Many words are added to reflect the age-related school curriculum.

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, a$$, 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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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:20 pm

No, no, no! What are they doing?!? sad or frown

This is deeply upsetting, how can they do this to children?! There are alot of beautiful words taken out just for the sake of what childhood has now become due to the advancement of technology and so-called "celebrities" ruining our lives and corrupting our minds.

Damn you


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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:47 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.

By the way, MP3 is not a word, and if they add a trademark word. Will they add iPod, iPhone and whatnot? Funny enough, they cut down Blackberry
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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:11 pm

Of course, a full knowledge of language would lead to open dialogue, which would lead to increased understanding among different people, which would lead to a decrease in violence...

and we can't have THAT happen, right?! Mad

Arrgh. God forbid we grow/evolve as a civilization, huh?
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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:16 pm

I remember thinking once that I wasn't as smart as my grandparents were.Or as smart as my mother.In so many ways I am a product of the American School system.
It makes me sad to know that as society gets more technologically advanced even more knowledge will be taken away from the next generation.

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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:21 pm

Eeeew! All those horrible cold technological words going in and they're taking out a cuddly word like PIGLET?????? Wtf is wrong with piglet?

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PostSubject: Re: Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary   Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:52 pm

This is so sad. It is such a shame we are loosing so much. Why not just add the new words?
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