Man Gave Names To All The Animals

By Ross Douthat

This Telegraph story is headlined "words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary," but the purge of animal names from the (admittedly only 10,000-word) Oxford Junior Dictionary seems just as disquieting as the disappearance of words like minister, monastery, monk, and nun. Here's some of what's out:

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.

And here's some of what's in:

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

I mean, fair enough about "budgerigar" and "boisterous." But there's something awfully depressing about the idea that the word "database" is more relevant to your average British ten-year-old than the word "guinea pig."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2008/12/man-gave-names-to-all-the-animals/55839/