In 1857 the “Unregistered Words Committee” of the Philological Society of London published the report On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries, calling for the creation of a new comprehensive English dictionary. Sixty-one years later, on April 19, 1928, the final fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary was published, covering Wise to the end of W. (Curious about the fate of X, Y, and Z? Me too, but I’m just parroting Wikipedia.)
In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the OED, the Oxford University Press is hosting a series of events around the world. And for the rest of this year, they’re offering the full 20-volume print edition for the low low price of £450 or $850. You can’t afford not to buy it! It’ll probably hold its value better than your stock portfolio, and it’s certainly a lot more fun.
Oxford University, Oxford, England
Century Club, New York, NY
November 13, 6:00pm, Brattle Theater
Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, MA
November 18, 7:30-9:00pm
Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA
The Dictionary of American Regional English is one of the great American scholarly achievements, all four volumes of the planned six volume work having earned endless praise.
I’m looking forward to writing at greater length about DARE one of these days. But poking around on their web site* this evening, I found something that might be of immediate interest, especially to the Americans in the house.
DARE is looking for citations. Anyone from North Carolina know what a “tally-lagger” is? Nantucketers familiar with the term “slatch,” or New Englanders with “sleighty?” The wanted list has a slew of great words on it, all beginning with S or T, all orphans looking for citations. I can’t provide a direct link, sadly, because their site uses frames, but you can find it by going to their main page and clicking on ‘QUERIES’ in the left-hand column.
This reminds me, Jesse Sheidlower still seems to be collecting sci-fi citations, judging from the latest entry on his Science Fiction Citation site, dated January 7, 2008.
If anyone knows of any other dictionaries with open calls for citations, please mention them in the comments.
* They’ve got a lot of interesting content on their site, but it would be wonderful if the dictionary itself was available online. If anyone from the Gates Foundation or the like is listening, this would be a wonderful way to spend some of your filthy lucre.
This weekend I stumbled across the Science Fiction Citations project for the OED, run by noted lexicographer and F Word author Jesse Sheidlower. It’s an effort to enlist public help in finding antecedents for words commonly used in science fiction. Citations are added at a slightly slower rate than on Wordie (there’s been one addition to SF Citations so far this year, and four in all of 2006), and the process is, relatively speaking, somewhat rigorous, as you might expect of the OED. But if you’re a serious fan of either science fiction or the OED, it could be a lot of fun. And c’mon–getting a citation in the OED would give you mad, mad Wordie cred.