Heavy lex­i­con

Down to Earth - - MEDIA -

Bad news for those who want to hold the next edi­tion of the world’s favourite English dic­tio­nary. It might not be printed be­cause it is too bulky. Michael Prof­fitt, the edi­tor of the Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary ( OED), said that ow­ing to its huge size, the third edi­tion of what is ar­guably the world's most au­tho­r­a­tive English dic­tio­nary will dou­ble up from its last edi­tion to 40 vol­umes. Ox­ford Univer­sity Press ( OUP) will print it only if there is enough de­mand for it.

Prof­fitt also blamed the In­ter­net for the de­lay. “Al­though the In­ter­net has made ac­cess eas­ier, it has cre­ated the dilemma of in­for­ma­tion over­load,” he was quoted as say­ing. OUP will, how­ever, con­tinue to pub­lish the slim­mer OED.

It took 70 years to pre­pare the first edi­tion of OED, pub­lished in 1928. Its last edi­tion was pub­lished in 1989. The cur­rent edi­tion has been in progress since 1994 and has over 800,000 en­tries to look through. A team of 70 lin­guists, lex­i­cog­ra­phers and pro­nun­ci­a­tion ex­perts are work­ing on the edi­tion. It might be in pro­duc­tion till 2034.

A Ger­man mu­seum set up to pro­mote greater un­der­stand­ing of Na­tive Amer­i­can cul­ture is em­broiled in con­tro­versy af­ter re­fus­ing to hand back Amer­i­can In­dian scalps to their mod­ern-day de­scen­dants. The Sault Sainte Marie tribe of Chippewa In­di­ans from Michi­gan had urged the Karl-MayMu­seum Rade­beul to re­turn re­mains of their an­ces­tors, say­ing “It is not ac­cept­able for those re­mains to be stored in a de­port and not rein­terred to the Earth for a proper burial.” Al­though the mu­seum au­thor­i­ties agreed to re­move the items from dis­play, it re­fused to re­turn them on the ba­sis that the ori­gin of the scalps is ob­scure.

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