Television

BBC's interactive initiative seeks to rewrite the Oxford dictionary

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MUMBAI: UK public broadcaster The BBC has announced an interactive initiative in the UK Wordhunt. This aims at rewriting the the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). BBC Two is asking viewers to join The Wordhunt Project and help rewrite what it has dubbed as 'the greatest book in the English language'.     

A major series next year will present the results and will be the biggest, boldest attempt yet to ask the nation, "Where do words come from?". 250 years after Doctor Johnson wrote his celebrated dictionary with the aid of just six helpers, the BBC and the Oxford English Dictionary are joining forces for The Wordhunt Project, and appealing to Britain to help solve some of the most intriguing recent word mysteries in the language.

Wordhunters should log on to bbc.co.uk/wordhunt to see how their evidence could be included in the OED. BBC Two controller Roly Keating said, "We're launching a nationwide hunt for the origin of words and it's a fantastic opportunity for viewers to contribute to a historic project. Any valid evidence will not only rewrite the Oxford English Dictionary but will feed into a major series for BBC TWO on the origin of words. The OED and this series promise a fascinating and unique insight into British history."

The Oxford English Dictionary is appealing to the public for a focussed effort on 50 words. They include back to square one, jaffa (cricketing term), Beeb, to bonk (sexual intercourse), cyberspace, tikka masala and full monty. The OED seeks to find the earliest verifiable usage of every single word in the English language - currently 600,000 and counting - and of every separate meaning of every word.

Quite a task! The 50 words on the appeal list all have a date next to them - corresponding to the earliest evidence the dictionary currently has for that word or phrase. No dictionary is ever finished. Therefore the BBC is also appealing for interested word hunters to find new words that aren't present in the OED.

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