Oh No!

 Shared from Serenity in the Garden

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Nature Words Deleted from the Dictionary..oh no!

 In 2009 Oxford Junior Dictionary (Oxford University Press) revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. So they deleted these words from the Junior dictionary. These are the words deleted:
pasture and
The words taking their places in the new edition included attachmentblock-graphblogbroadbandbullet-pointcelebrity,chatroomcommitteecut-and-pasteMP3 player and voice-mail.
This is an outright shame because as  Wendell Berry wrote: “… we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know.”
When I was a child, I asked my mother what this was (see above), she said it was Nature. For some time after that, every time someone said the word, ‘Nature’, I imagined a dandelion seedhead.
“Humans seldom value what they cannot name.”  – Elaine Brooks

About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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8 Responses to Oh No!

  1. Alice Jordon says:

    Very sad! Today’s kids know so little about the natural world and most could care less!

  2. My husband’s highschool English teacher lamented this about 30 years ago when I visited her in Oklahoma. She said that they could not understand many of the basic words from nature, even “rose” or “coral bells/ lily of the valley”. This prevented them from appreciating poetry and literature. I am working on these things with my three grandchildren! I think bringing in a flower to their homeroom each day for them to identify and learn about might be a step in the right direction.

  3. Chris Nicholson says:

    I opened this comment space to say “How sad!” and Alice Jordan got those sentiments out before I did.

    I have a granddaughter–an adult now– a middle school art teacher who came to visit us late last fall with her boyfriend to tell me that they had heard a rush of birds calling and flying in the night which were unknown to them–large water birds. They needed to find out what they were. With some research they found that they were loons, not as they usually look in their breeding plumage
    but darker. Loons only come through our area during migration. I’m so glad that these things mean something to them. I’m glad that your grands have family that value nature.

    Chris N.

    • gardenbug says:

      Love your reply Chris! My daughter taught ornithology for a while. Even my son has enjoyed bird watching. Now my daughter is eager to figure out which plants attract bees.

  4. chelone says:

    You know Mum was a librarian, ‘bug. The “li-berry” in our town was a favorite destination. I still remember how thrilled I was to have a library card in my own name! I used to ride my bike there with my best friend and we’d spend hours reading and poring over the books we decided to check out and carry home. We read all summer long and a rainy day (no swimming) was every bit as delightful because of books… I didn’t realize it at the time but I was “building vocabulary” (sounds so clinical) and over time it’s proven to be the very basis of what’s permitted me to select specific words to connote a specific meaning/sentiment.

    “They” (those in the know, yeah right) may cull words at their will… to our greater literary detriment (IMO), but those who are raised in homes that value and delight in reading will carry the torch until the next Renaissance. 😉

    In my bookcase is a series of books, fondly called “the green books” (The Home University Bookshelf, c. 1927 by The University Society), they were the books of Mum’s childhood. In those dog-eared volumes are all manner of stories, history, studies of nature, DIY, crafts/art, etc.. They were written to challenge children and increase their comprehension and appreciation of the English language, portions of each volume were written for all age and skill levels. The illustrations are lush and lavish, with color plates that are particularly arresting. I still remember the day “I got it” and began reading on my own, and I can still open “the green book” to the very page… isn’t that amazing? The day “I got it”, the volume that shared Mum’s lap with me was just under 40 yrs. old.

    “Dumming down” is the first step in homogenizing the beauty and subtlety of language. (more opinion, and let’s add mastery of penmanship to that list, too, OK?)

    • gardenbug says:

      Chelone, Leo is four. His most recent word is “spectacular”, because of a book called “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett. (Go read it next time you are at the library!) All three ‘grands’ get solo invitations to the library with me. We collect about 10 books each time. They love it! Last night I was reading to them after dinner. Leo’s oft repeated phrase was “KEEP READING!” There were short chapters, and after each I teased and said, “OOPS, that’s the end for tonight.” He’s a VERY active child, but a book calms him down instantly. He gets so absorbed. When I visited his pre-school last week his teacher noticed him bring me a book and settle down and was amazed. I was amazed too. It was a book about brushing teeth! It’s time to introduce specific plant names soon! Perhaps I’ll have them choose flower seeds soon.

      • chelone says:

        I was a popular baby-sitter in the neighborhood where I grew up (amazing since you and several others know I hate kids and dogs). I was always willing to read to my charges. It was the easiest way to get them to “settle down”, lol. And it was easy to do. Nothing is more relaxing that a good book; for a “little” what could be more comforting and fun than a snuggle and a story?

        I have discovered a very cool daily TV show that is rerun at 2PM and is convenient for the end of my work day. It’s on PBS and it’s called, “Dinosaur Train”. Animated, it features the Pteranodon family and Buddy, the adopted T. Rex. Every half hour program is about dinosaurs and is full the proper names and discussions about “features” (teeth, diet, plant material, etc.) and how those things make every life form different. There is also a pop in visit from Dr. Scott, the paleontologist. Every episode also carries a gentle life lesson about “getting along”, accepting/embracing differences, and how doing so makes life so much more pleasant. I absolutely love it! it’s more interesting that most “adult” programming… . Lesson? never, ever “dumb down” for kids. “Fair” is a concept so complicated only a kid can understand it…

  5. gardenbug says:

    Ahhh, fairness. Another topic Leo brought up last night. 😉

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