Nature Words Dropped From Oxford Junior Dictionary

“A weed is no more than a flower in disguise”
-James Russell Lowell

But with recent changes being made in a children’s dictionary, will kids ever know the name of that weed or even of that flower?
A well-known Canadian conservationist is flabbergasted that the publisher of the Oxford Junior Dictionary sent words like “beaver” and “dandelion” the way of the dodo bird.

In the latest edition of its dictionary for schoolchildren, Oxford University Press cut nature terms such as heron, magpie, otter, acorn, clover, ivy, sycamore, willow and blackberry. The electronic BlackBerry was one of the words that was inserted instead, along with blog, MP3 player, voice mail and broadband. Canadian wildlife artist and conservationist Robert Bateman, whose Get to Know Program has been inspiring children to go outdoors and “get to know” their wild neighbours for more than a decade, said the decision is telling kids that nature just isn’t that important. “This is another nail in the coffin of human beings being acquainted with nature,” Bateman said. It said the 10,000 words and phrases in the junior dictionary were selected using several criteria, including how often words would be used by young children. Vineeta Gupta, who heads children’s dictionaries at Oxford University Press, wrote that changes in the world are responsible for changes in the book. Some religious words were removed because people don’t go to church as often as before, Gupta told London’s Daily Telegraph.

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