Oxford dictionary eradicates words associated with Christianity and British history
Thus words like ‘bishop’, ‘abbey’, ‘chapel, ‘saint’, ‘empire’ and ‘coronation’ have been expunged along with many which related to the countryside, like ‘moss’, ‘willow’, ‘fern’, ‘buttercup’, ‘heather’, ‘sycamore’ and ‘mistletoe’.
In order to make the dictionary ‘more relevant’ to the town-dwelling, multi-faith, multi-cultural internet-dominated, celebrity-obsessed, and ADD-afflicted generation, words like ‘blog’, ‘broadband’, ‘MP3 player’, ‘voicemail’ and ‘celebrity’ are supplanting those which may explain and educate them on their country’s Christian heritage and cultural traditions.
And with supreme irony yet of immense political significance, ‘monarch’ has been erased while ‘EU’ enters for the first time.
It is an insidious agenda indeed which seeks to inculcate the nation’s most vulnerable and impressionable minds with the supremacy of the European Union over the monarchy of the United Kingdom. While the former becomes ‘more relevant’, the latter is irrelevant to the point of non-definition
Professor Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment at Buckingham University, said: "We have a certain Christian narrative which has given meaning to us over the last 2,000 years. To say it is all relative and replaceable is questionable. The word selections are a very interesting reflection of the way childhood is going, moving away from our spiritual background and the natural world and towards the world that information technology creates for us."
In a nation in which 70 per cent of the population identified themselves at the last census as Christian, either by faith or culture, the eradication of so many words associated with the faith will have an undoubted detrimental effect on the children in all those primary schools who use the dictionary. Such a crucial educational tool has an obligation to be prescriptive in preserving the richness of the English language and permitting children’s understanding of their heritage and the world around them.
Vineeta Gupta, is head of children's dictionaries at Oxford University Press. She wholeheartedly justifies the bowdlerisation, declaring: "When you look back at older versions of dictionaries, there were lots of examples of flowers for instance. That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed. We are also much more multicultural. People don't go to Church as often as before. Our understanding of religion is within multiculturalism, which is why some words such as ‘Pentecost’ or ‘Whitsun’ would have been in 20 years ago but not now."
Well, Ms Gupta, not all children are concrete-dwelling, tarmac-loitering ignoramuses. Indeed, tens of thousands not only live in rural environments, they positively embrace it, and some of those in industrial areas also yearn for it. And have you not considered that even those who live in towns may yet still observe the changing of seasons? What, pray, is more ‘multicultural’ this year than last about the British state? And what proportion of the population takes its understanding of religion from this multiculturalism?
Ah, Ms Gupta, one wonders if you yourself have an agenda here.
For have you not noticed, in your observation that church attendance is declining and your strange assertion that the changing of the seasons may no longer be observed, that we still have a monarch, notwithstanding that the word has been excised from your tome?
Cranmer is displeased to list those words which have been eradicated:
Carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe (that’s Christmas gone).
Dwarf, elf, goblin (that’s the understanding of mythology and fairy-tales diminished).
Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar (that’s the Christian narrative deleted).
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade (that’s royalty and empire expunged).
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 (that’s an appreciation of the infinite variety of wildlife denied).
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 (that’s the British countryside erased).
And Cranmer is disturbed to see the new words included:
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.
The Orwellian agenda speaks for itself, though doubtless Ms Gupta will deny it. The elimination of words like ‘bacon’ or ‘piglet’ is doubtless one of her sops to ‘multiculturalism’.
Do schoolchildren no longer live in counties? Do they no longer keep hamsters or goldfish? Do they not sing carols or pull crackers at Christmas? Do they not eat bacon? Do they no longer play conkers?
Cranmer is simply appalled, and exhorts all rural and faith schools to boycott this deficient dictionary on the grounds that it has ceased to be relevant to the culture and education of the children in their charge.