The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A grown-up dictionary!

It's not often that a project I've worked on gets a mention on Radio 4, but this morning, as I was trying rouse myself out of bed, the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English (Oxford's single-volume dictionary) got a mention on the Today programme. This was exciting, not just because things I've worked on don't often get talked about on the radio, but also because it was my first foray into native speaker dictionaries and it feels all rather 'grown-up'!

I didn't actually work on researching and writing the dictionary, but I was involved in working on the database on which it's compiled and stored; tidying up some technical stuff, making sure everything was structured and formatted correctly, checking that nothing was missing, checking links and cross-references. It was still a great experience though and an insight into a different branch of lexicography. After years of working on ELT dictionaries, where the vocabulary's all very frequent and familiar, and where the grammar's simplified for learners, at first, it was a bit daunting. I learnt loads, having to deal with grammatical distinctions that I'd never really had to think about before and coming across lots of words that were way outside my vocabulary. I may have only joined the project at the tail end, but it was still fun to deal with some 'grown-up' language for a change!

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