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It may have taken more than four decades, but the world’s largest English language thesaurus has finally been completed. Work on The Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1965, and according to this story in the Times, the project has survived fire, funding challenges and the need for constant updates, to only name…

A Labour of Love

It may have taken more than four decades, but the world’s largest English language thesaurus has finally been completed. Work on The Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1965, and according to this story in the Times, the project has survived fire, funding challenges and the need for constant updates, to only name a few of the many challenges it faced. After 44 years this labour of love is finally ready to be published.

The Times: “With 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words organised into more than 230,000 categories and subcategories, the thesaurus is twice the size of Roget’s version. It contains almost the entire vocabulary of English, from Old English to the present day, giving a unique insight into the development of the language.

“The project began 44 years ago with Michael Samuels, then Professor of English Language at the University of Glasgow. Several of the project’s founders have since died.” One of the current editorsfirst began work on the project during the late 1960s, when she was just 27. She’s now 69 years old. 

Posted by Joel on July 24 2009 • Books

We are all writers now

An interesting piece from the Economist’s More Intelligent Life: We Are All Writers Now. Twitter, Facebook, blogs like this one--they are all assumed to be “cheapening the language” according to this recently published article. Is it true?

From the story: “The chattering classes have become silent, tapping their views on increasingly smaller devices. And tapping they are: the screeds are everywhere, decrying the decline of smart writing, intelligent thought and proper grammar. Critics bemoan blogging as the province of the amateurism. Journalists rue the loose ethics and shoddy fact-checking of citizen journalists. Many save their most profound scorn for the newest forms of social media. Facebook and Twitter are heaped with derision for being insipid, time-sucking, sad testaments to our literary degradation. This view is often summed up with a disdainful question: “Do we really care about what you ate for lunch?””

What does the future hold?

Posted by Joel on July 06 2009 • Journalism