Joanna Turnbull, managing editor, English Dictionaries, Oxford University Press (OUP), UK, who was in Pune to conduct a workshop for English teachers on Thursday told DNA that, India, the biggest market has also lent the dictionary some ‘English words in Indian usage’.
“We recently updated the meaning of revert, taking a cue from the way it is used in India, i.e, reply. And then there’s ply, abstain and avail.”
Narendra Ranade, general manager, Educational Marketing, OUP, India said that even words like jugaad may be included in the lexicon.
“India is among our biggest markets. We did a lot of research and found out that students do use dictionaries, but there are limitations. Hence, the workshop has been organised,” Turnbull said.
Incidentally, the OUP is celebrating its centenary in India.
The editor of the latest edition (8th) of Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, also the product that the group is marketing, Turnbull feels that dictionaries, in their physical, tangible form are here to stay ‘at least, or the time being’. “It may change after some decades. But for now they’re relevant,” she said, before adding that the blend of both physical and digital dictionaries is growing popular than ever.
And to keep the relevance intact, Turnbull is sourcing the latest words in English from across the world. Her job as a lexicographer is as interesting as the words, and sometimes meanings, that she comes across. “Sticky and Tweet have found newer definitions. Apart from that there are words like blogosphere (blogger’s sphere), staycation (stay-at-home-vacation), chillax (chill relax), and others which have made it to the current edition,” she shared adding, “With new words coming in, the language is becoming less formal.”
Newer entries also suggest some obsoleteness. But Turnbull explains that the dictionary is only getting fatter. “There are only a few words that have been dropped, like ‘millennium bug’. We are in a fortunate position to not drop words. The language is getting richer by the day,” said Turnbull who started her career as an English language teacher.
“It’s so interesting to see phrases used in different contexts, like Piccadilly Circus for a very busy or crowded place, or above board for honest and legal,” she concluded.