Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Sad Person

I guess I'm a bit of a sad person. I have just taken delivery of a new ...


... and I'm really excited about it.

I've owned a number of dictionaries during my lifetime. I can remember the excitement of getting my first dictionary when I was about 10. I think it was a Collins Dictionary, but I'm not exactly sure now because being 10 was a long time ago. I later received an English-French dictionary, followed a year later by an English-Latin dictionary, and then by an English-German dictionary. Studying foreign languages up to GCE 'O'-level was compulsory when I was at school. When I was in the Sixth Form, I was given the opportunity to study Russian in some of my spare periods, so an English-Russian dictionary was added to the bookcase in my bedroom.

Fortunately I was taught spelling when I was at primary school; every Friday morning for all the years that I was at the school, there was a spelling test. It taught me to love the English language, and it also taught me that it had a lot of tricks that it could play in order to catch the unwary. When I started working, I didn't need to use my knowledge of English to begin with, but as I moved up the ladder, the type of work that I did changed, and the use of English became all important. At work I had to use the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as the arbiter for spelling and definition. Each time a new edition came out, our library staff had to order a number of copies so that the editors all had their own copy for reference. However, at home for help with crosswords, I had a copy of Chambers 20th Century Dictionary.

I haven't bothered to get a new dictionary because I didn't think I would need one. I can always use the spellchecking facility in the various applications that I use on the computer, so I have stuck with the dictionaries I already had. But I am doing the last two modules for my second degree, and for one of them The Chambers Dictionary is a set book, and a brand new edition has just been published. So for the first time in about 20 years, I personally own a brand new dictionary, and it is full of lovely words like blog, blogger, and blogosphere.

You can hardly blame me for getting excited, can you?

No comments: