Wednesday October 24, 2018
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English Words: How Words from Different Languages Find Their Way into English Dictionaries

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English words, English language, entries English dictionaries
English Words: How Words from Different Languages Find Their Way into English Dictionaries, Image: Wikimedia Commons.
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Every year there are new English words that get incorporated in English language from other languages. When something fantastic catches your attention, what would you exclaim—jhakaas, bombat or semma? Is a cunning guy chaalu, chatri or shaana? Would you call your friend yaar, macha or bondhu?

The world of words is the most extraordinary of things as it gives expression to everything under the sun. Every single word that we use daily stands, often without our realisation, for something unique, something that the given word is used to give expression to.

But while most words are common in speech, there are several that have rarely been written down.

For 54-year-old lexicographer Peter Gilliver, words like “spuggy” and “netty” were perfectly ordinary as he had been familiar with them since his childhood, but he was surprised that neither of them had made their way into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

“I can recall some words which my grandmother used, like ‘spuggy’ meaning a sparrow, or ‘netty’ meaning a toilet, which were very familiar to me, but which are little used outside the northeast of England, where grandma lived,” Gilliver, the OED Associate Editor, told IANS in an email interview.

He said he brought these words with him as “just about everyone, who comes to work for the OED, brings some regional dialect words, which they learned when they were young, and which are not familiar to people from other regions”.

There are now entries in the dictionary for both words, which exhibits that their history can be traced back over 100 years, actually 200 years in the case of “netty”.

“I think there must be similar words in every region of the English-speaking world, which are very familiar to people living there but little known outside the region; we are glad to learn about such words, so that we can research them and consider adding them to the OED,” Gilliver said.

Closer home in India, almost everyone can certainly recall a moment when a word in their native language—the language they’ve known and used for years at home—baffles people from other parts of our own country.

Again, most such words are common in speech but some are rarely written down and so they can easily escape the attention of dictionary editors.

There are also many English words, commonly used in India, that haven’t found space in English dictionaries.

English words, new entries in English dictionaries
English Words: How Words from Different Languages Find Their Way into English Dictionaries, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Angus Stevenson, OED’s Head of Content Development, said that their dictionaries of current English, in particular the online text, contains many hundreds of examples of Indian English as well, and many that derive from Hindi and other Indian languages.

“We are particularly interested in words such as ‘air-dash’, ‘batchmate’, and ‘calling bell’, which are genuine examples of an Indian variety of English, and would very much like to expand our coverage,” Stevenson said.

Yo may also like to read: If you look carefully at English you will see Sanskrit hidden everywhere: Jeffrey Armstrong

“We are planning projects to gather and define words from Indian and other under-represented areas of English—for example, we cover South African English but have not yet attempted to describe the English used in other parts of the African continent,” he added.

The first English dictionary goes back to at least the 16th century and the era of the Renaissance, which was a time, somewhat like our own, in which there was a huge amount of rapid change, and many new influences on the English language.

“The first Oxford dictionary of English was the OED, first published between 1884 and 1928.”

The OED claims to draw on expertise from all around the world. Their lexicographers are not confined to the UK, according to Judy Pearsall, Dictionaries Director at OED.

“The OED focuses on usage wherever in the world English is spoken and used. We have a large team of editors in the UK, but we also have consultants and colleagues from a much wider field and we rely on the whole team to ensure that our outlook is global and outward-facing, just like the English language itself,” she said.

With the rise of social media networking, usage of acronyms and abbreviations are also on the rise. What is still the need to have dictionary words?

“For us at Oxford Dictionaries, words are ‘dictionary words’, as long as they are used, and that includes abbreviations and acronyms,” said Pearsall.

Also readThe Indian influence on English Language

“The OED looks to include terms that originated on social media, such as LOL, just as much as any other words.

“We regard all of them as part of the language, and recognize that people use and need both,” she maintained. (IANS)

 

 

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Why Do People Around The World Consider English Essential?

Primary Language of the Internet is English

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Why Do People Around The World Consider English Essential?
Why Do People Around The World Consider English Essential? flickr

Learning English is considered to be vital in almost all the countries. People living in nations, whose first language is not English, definitely, make it a point to learn and study it as a second language, right from their childhood. In fact, many parents resort to hiring private English Tutors in order to give their kids the much needed extra edge in English to stay ahead in the competitive world. As globalization is rapidly making the world a small place to live in by forging an interconnection between, almost, every part of the world with each other, English has rapidly emerged as a common global language, virtually eliminating all international borders.

Following are some major points to help you understand the importance of learning English.

  • Primary Language of the Internet

We, definitely, go online, at least for some point in the day. A vast majority of the websites present on the Internet detail the needed information in the English language. Not only the websites, even all the major software packages, and operating systems, for your smart electronic devices including mobile, PC etc, use English as their primary language. Hence, it can be safely said that English is the primary language of the Internet and digital communication.

  • You Stand a Good Chance of Landing a Great Job

If you are looking to work in a multinational company or thinking of moving abroad; the prospects of getting a good job increase, if you can communicate well in English. Almost 54 countries of the world use English as their official language. Moreover, it is the official language of both NATO and UN.

  • Ability to Communicate with a Tremendous Amount of People

English holds the spot of being the second largest language in the world in terms of native speakers as well as persons who study, learn and communicate in English as their second language. Hence, if you are comfortable in English; it means you are convenient and comfy enough to communicate and interact with a huge amount of people in the world. Apart from this; even when it comes to using a common language in business; English comes on top in terms of usage and popularity.

some words of English language
some words of English language, pixabay
  • Quick & Simple to Learn

If you compare the English alphabets with other languages such as Spanish, Arabic or Mandarin, you will find English alphabets a lot easier to grasp. Hence, with proper efforts, you can learn English much quickly as compared to other languages.

  • Get Access to a Host of other Learning Opportunities

If you are looking to widen your knowledge base by taking up additional courses or programs; you will, undoubtedly, agree with the fact that majority of the universities and schools, worldwide, offer a plethora of study opportunities and courses which are taught and instructed, solely and entirely in English. So, in order to enjoy the benefits of studying different courses, you need to be well-versed in English.

Also read: Yogi accepts recommendations Hindi English teaching madrasas

Conclusion

Above were the major reasons indicating and highlighting the importance of learning the English language. Apart from these, numerous other reasons are available as well. Hence, right from befriending people internationally to following your career-oriented goals; you, undoubtedly, need the support of English language. (IANS)