Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary

Henry Hitchings writes:


Dictionaries are never untouched by ideology. But it can be hard to distinguish between pragmatic choices and political ones, oversights and deliberate exclusions, accidental omissions and the effects of covert strategy. In Words of the World, billed as ‘A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary’, Sarah Ogilvie tries to identify the moment when, she believes, covert strategy came into play. Formerly director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and now employed by Amazon, Ogilvie also worked at the OED?, where she specialised in writing or refining entries for words borrowed into English from other languages. She argues that rather than being ‘a distinctly English product’ – it was once voted an ‘Icon of England’ along with Marmite, Buckingham Palace and the bowler hat – theOED was from its early days an international enterprise.

(LRB 7 March 2013)

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