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Robert Macfarlane ‘The same summer I was on Lewis, a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that there had been a culling of words concerning nature. Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail. As I had been entranced by the language preserved in the prose‑poem of the “Peat Glossary”, so I was dismayed by the language that had fallen (been pushed) from the dictionary. For blackberry, read Blackberry.’

Personally, from being bowled over by the numerous weird and wonderful words to describe fauna, terrain and nature to being horrified by the removal of such words as ‘buttercup’ from the OUP. I suppose in a society where it is discouraged for the young to explore outdoors and encouraged to stay indoors, away from nature in the company of television and technology why would you need to know what these things are called?

It’s all redolent of Winston Smith’s ‘role’ in 1984: to overwrite the truth, to replace the history of what happened with a revised version. Shrink the vocabulary, shrink the critical capacity.

Prince: Colonised Mind

Wanna talk about it, colonized mind

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