View the H-Africa Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Africa's October 2013 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Africa's October 2013 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Africa home page.
[https://pod51043.outlook.com/owa/1x1.gif] [https://pod51043.outlook.com/owa/1x1.gif] [https://pod51043.outlook.com/owa/1x1.gif] There has been a lot of speculation about how Oxford decides what words should and should not be included in their various dictionaries. Is it worth considering Oxford's public claims about how they decide which words should enter a dictionary? Their technical description of the process can be found at http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/how-a-new-word-enters-an-oxford-dictionary. This description makes the process appear rational and objective (it is, after all, presented as a flow chart in which decisions are presented as discrete and binary). Note that this page is labeled "how a new word enters a dictionary" suggesting an agentless process. For a more nuanced and politically-tinged description, see http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/how-do-you-decide-whether-a-new-word-should-be-included-in-an-oxford-dictionary. Here we see the possibility for subjectivity enter the decision-making process. The label here suggests the power and subjectivity of the editors to exercise their authority in identifying and selecting words for inclusion. In my view, these statements do not settle the debate. If anything, the differences between them could fuel a considerable debate about the intentions of the editors, how closely they follow their own procedures, whether they might take advantage of current events to create publicity (perhaps with input from their marketing dept?), etc. Craig Tower Independent Scholar --