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Every translator knows that a standard dictionary has its limits, and never is this truer than when translating specialist terminology in a domain with a specific vocabulary. In an ideal scenario the translator will have direct experience of… Read More
Earlier this year the 12th edition of the Chambers English dictionary was published, it was popular in the news at the time as 200 new words had been added to the respectable tome. Many of which reflect the current foci of our society i.e. internet culture, economic and environmental issues. The internet plays a key part in most of our lives; many of us do not go a day without checking our emails or surfing the web. So it’s hardly surprising that many of the words we use in ‘internet speak’ have made it on the pages of one of the most respected British dictionaries. Facebook extends its arm of influence even further, meaning that you can legitimately ‘defriend’ someone, at least terminologically speaking.
Only words which have proved they’re not whimsical and merely in use for a few months are allowed in. The words have proven themselves to be a steadfast part of our daily language and they’re around to stay. Not only is it the internet that has influenced the new additions, but also lexical gems stemming from the state of our planet’s climate and our attitudes to ‘green’ living (‘upcycle’ or ‘lovacore’ for example- which, by the way are not yet recognised by my spell check.) The state of our economic affairs and the various financial crises (apparently about which I have been grumbling about on here) have also made it into the dictionary, ‘toxic assets’ being one example and Britain’s ‘lost generation’ another.
It seems that the dictionary really does reflect our ‘modern’ society. Acronyms have even been added to the list of new ‘words’, the most obvious being OMG, BFF and XXL; needless to say these have come to us from across the pond and assimilated into our British English. It seems anything goes, though whether these class as acceptable words will be a point Scrabble players will have to debate.
I find dictionaries fascinating (I’m revealing my geeky side here or should I say ‘young fogey’) but I could quite happily dip into the pages of a dictionary and discover what ‘nudik’, ‘quidnunc’ or ‘rantipole’ mean just by flicking through the pages. It makes you realise how small your vocabulary really is. So my tip for the day, why not learn a new word everyday so you can drop a few humdingers into a dinner party conversation to impress your fellow diners.
Well that’s enough inaniloquency from me for one day, I could ramble on until the mesonoxian hour. I hope you have enjoyed this insight into the delectable English language and don’t floccinaucinihilipilificate it.
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