Archaic words out of kids` dictionary

Last Updated: Sunday, December 7, 2008 - 19:10

London, Dec 07: Words linked to Christianity, the monarchy and British history have been eased out from a leading dictionary for children.

Yes, the Oxford University Press has taken out words like "aisle", "bishop", "chapel", "empire" and "monarch" from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with modern words like "blog", "broadband", "voicemail" and "MP3 player".

Moreover, dozens of words related to the countryside have been culled.

The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.

According to Vineeta Gupta, the Head of Children`s Dictionaries at Oxford University Press: "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 in multi-culturalism, which is why some words such as `Pentecost` or `Whitsun` would have been in 20 years ago but not now."

However, academics said that the changes to the 10,000 word Junior Dictionary could mean that kids 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.

"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," Prof Alan Smithers of Buckingham University was quoted as saying.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, December 7, 2008 - 19:10
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