I am no plaster saint and will use the odd expletive from time to time. It is, however almost always under my breath and not something of which I am proud. In my (admittedly unscientific experience) those who employ profanity in their everyday interactions with others do, almost invariably possess a limited vocabulary which accounts for their inability to communicate without utilising swear words. In short I am unconvinced by the findings of this research.
At school I, along with my fellow pupils was encouraged to create a mini dictionary. Each time I discovered an unfamiliar word I would look it up in the dictionary and enter it into my little book. This practice kindled in me a love of words and to this day I still make a habit of looking up unfamiliar ones.
Yesterday I came across the word demythology. Turning to The Fontana Dictionary Of Modern Thought I found the following definition of demythologize, (a meaning for demythology isn’t rendered):
“Demythologize. To confess disbelief in the legends and mythological ideas present in the Bible, while translating the Bible’s message into a religious understanding compatible with modern science and philosophy …”. Yet another word to add to my vocabulary although not one I can envisage utilising any time soon.
As a child (a precocious one at that) I owned a Braille edition of The Little Oxford Dictionary of Current English which ran to some 16 volumes in Braille. As a small boy I recall having the idea that one could assemble a library encompassing all the knowledge available. I possessed a vague idea that The Little Oxford only contained a tiny portion of that knowledge but, somehow I believed it was possible for me to know, at the very least, a little about everything.
I know longer cherish the erroneous view that one can ever comprehend all there is to no on a single subject let alone on the ever expanding knowledge base which exists out there. Despite the fact we can never know everything I felt a sense of regret when I read that the next edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) may well only appear online due to the sheer vastness of the project and the prohibitive cost (for many) of £750) of purchasing the print edition. The ever evolving nature of language is, no doubt better suited to an online work of reference hcapable of being easily updated, rather than the many paper volumes which will be out of date as soon as they leave the printing press. None the less I feel a sense of regret at the passing of the OED in it’s traditional printed form. There is something reassuring about holding a real book in one’s hands and I regret the demise of that sense of permanence, however illusory that undoubtedly was. For the article please go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/10777079/RIP-for-OED-as-worlds-finest-dictionary-goes-out-of-print.html