Children’s Dictionary Dumps ‘Nature’ Words

Van Mensvoort
February 4th 2009

To make way for modern tech terms such as BlackBerry, blog, voicemail and broadband, the latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary has opted to drop terms pertaining to old nature.  No longer can a child check this dictionary and learn more about the blackberry, dandelion, acorn, heron, otter, magpie, sycamore, or willow.

According to Vineeta Gupta, who heads children's dictionaries at Oxford University Press, changes in the world are responsible for changes in the book. "When you look back at older versions of dictionaries, there were lots of examples of flowers for instance," she said. "That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed."

The 10,000 words and phrases in the junior dictionary were selected using several criteria, including how often words would be used by young children.

Words taken out:

Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade, carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe, dwarf, elf, goblin, abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar.

Adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.

Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

Words put in:
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue.

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro.

Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph.

Via EcoChildPlay. Image: Shutterstock.

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Feral Boy
Posted 16/01/2012 – 07:37

“That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed.” Excuse me, they are taking out DANDELION? That's just about the only flower you can GUARANTEE to see in the city!

Sabrina
Posted 15/07/2011 – 18:13

What are some GOOD nature words?

Sebastian Michaelis
Posted 05/03/2011 – 01:45

Right. And how many children are going to get around to using the words "trapezium", "interdependent", and "colloquial"? These are words more suited to CNN than a child's dictionary.

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