James Murray

Oxford English Dictionary editor emeritus Sarah Ogilvie caused a literary stir for alleging in her new book that a former editor of the OED had deleted words with foreign origins. Ogilvie joins us to discuss the book “Words of the World: The Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary.” We’ll also explore the role and usefulness of dictionaries in an online age.

Sarah Ogilvie, linguist, former editor for the Oxford English Dictionary and author of "Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary"

  • ATHarvey

    Hi Sarah,

    There are so many iOS dictionaries claiming to be complete, do you have a strong suggestion for a particular app?

  • thucy

    Great guest and interview. Both links provided to Ogilvie articles are worth the read, too.

  • Noman Mirza

    May I ask about the word ‘Purveyor’?

  • thucy

    Loved the Collyer Brothers ref! “Ghosty Men”by Arthur Lidz is one of the funnier short reads out there.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Why haven’t you disclosed the cost of accessing the OED? Compare it to other FREE SOURCES, please. What would you recommend, Michael? Given how we are now forced to go to the web for so many things, it would seem a dependable and scholarly dictionary would be the most vital thing all should have free access to. Isn’t literacy a darn good reason to grant unfettered access regardless of income level?

    From oed.com:
    “For an annual rate of $295, you’ll have full unrestricted access to the OED Online – including quarterly updates! Love the OED, but can’t commit to a full year subscription? You can also enjoy access to the OED Online on a monthly basis. For a low monthly rate of $29.95, this is great value with no commitment.*

    • thucy

      I get everything from the library – for free. To say that not everything is online is a drastic understatement. Libraries are still the greatest repository we have, (partially by laws passed under FDR, if I recall?)
      Even UC Berkeley will give you free access to its monumental stacks AND its archives. You don’t have to be a student or faculty. The precious archives that I, an ordinary citizen, have been permitted to view… it reminds me this is still a great state.

      • Fay Nissenbaum

        I am aware of the public library, but who travels to the public library to look up a single word? Think about all those wihout access to the meaning of words! If you were to start the internet today, wouldn’t access to language and literacy be the first reason for doing so?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Amazing that show ended without identifying online sources of accurate and complete dictionaries. Is literacy for us all dependent on who can pay?
    PS – I still have a 30 yr old two-volume compact OED with the magnifying glass

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