пятница, 2 сентября 2011 г.

Words death: The dictionary kicked 'em out!

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A few months ago I wrote about quite a complicated modern phenomenon known as language death. Just recently I came across an article that listed some words that will lose their "permanent residence" in the English language, thus, according to the latest Collins Dictionary news release, they will be removed from smaller print dictionaries. 

The words that are no longer used in everyday language are generally called "obsolete." Recently, Collins Dictionary researchers have released a list of obsolete words in English. Among them is a well-known to most Russian speakers "aerodrome."

An aerodrome is a small landing area, especially for private jets. This word was most commonly used in British English, but has become obsolete in the recent years. I wonder if this is because there're fewer private jets today? Or perhaps the owners of private jets now have their own private "airdromes," but how do they call them? A "take off ground" perhaps?

Another obsolete word that will most definitely catch one's attention is the word "delicate." Some commenters were furious with this choice as the adjective "delicate" (meaning gentle, kind) is still frequently used. The obsolete word is actually a verb, "to delicate" meaning "to indulge in feasting, to delight one's self." "To delicate" may have been rather common in Jane Austen's days (18th century), but will be unknown to many today.

It is quite clear that for many online dictionaries, unlike the printed ones, the "death of words" is irrelevant, as online lexicographers are not particularly concerned with the number of paper pages or the amount of ink used for printing. 

To read more about the obsolete words click here