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Our Awards Booktopia's Charities. Item Added:. The word "dictionary" typically refers to a book that lists the words of a language alphabetically, and shows the spelling and meaning of each along with other information e. The best Canadian example of this, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary , was published in , with a second edition following in A dictionary can also be a reference book that explains items listed in alphabetical order; for example, in Canada, the multi-volume Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Modern dictionary-making is based on a descriptive approach to the language.
Serious dictionaries are based on an examination of large citation files or collections of whole texts, which allow the lexicographers to see exactly how the language is currently being used. Lexicographers generally select words and senses for inclusion based on the needs of their particular users. Dictionaries can be roughly divided into two main categories: historical and current.
Historical dictionaries, of which the Oxford English Dictionary OED is the best known, trace the development of words over time, with separate meanings of each word presented in the order in which they made their appearance in the language. Historical dictionaries attempt to find the earliest written evidence of a word, and illustrate their entries with examples taken from written sources.
Current dictionaries focus on the vocabulary in current use and order the senses of the words according to their familiarity to the modern user, often leaving out archaic senses altogether. Subcategories of current dictionaries include dictionaries for adult native speakers, second-language learners' dictionaries and children's dictionaries. In , Noah Webster produced An American Dictionary of the English Language , a two-volume work which asserted the distinctiveness of American English and established alternative spellings such as -er instead of -re and -or instead of -our endings.
The Oxford English Dictionary OED, —, published in 12 volumes with a supplement in traces the origins and development of English words since Anglo-Saxon times. An updated Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary ed.
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Burchfield , published in four volumes from to , was integrated into the volume second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary eds. Simpson and E. Weiner, , which included some 5, new items, for a total of over , word forms illustrated by almost 2. Beginning in , computer scientists at the University of Waterloo developed a system for storing and searching the text through a computer database and assisted on this edition. All dictionaries reflect the culture for which and within which they are written. Canadian-published dictionaries, therefore, are an essential part of defining a Canadian identity.
Dictionaries used in English Canada have too often been either American or British, few of them showing Canadian terms or Canadian variant spellings and pronunciations. Historically, dictionaries published in Canada had little Canadian content. Eventually, the desire of school authorities to purchase books of Canadian origin and manufacture resulted in several publishers producing dictionaries that were merely reprintings of American works with some Canadian entries incorporated, such as The Winston Dictionary for Canadian Schools However, serious research into Canadian English experienced an upsurge in the lates and s, resulting in A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles , edited by Walter S.
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Avis, C. Crate, P. Drysdale, D. Leechman and M. It presents more than 10, words that originated in Canada, have meanings peculiar to Canada or special significance in Canada. Since this is a historical dictionary, many of these words are no longer used. A shorter version, A Concise Dictionary of Canadianisms , was published in A number of projects in the s and s used this research to produce dictionaries based on American models, primarily for schools, that included more Canadian content than their predecessors.
Chief among these were the Gage dictionaries based on the American Thorndike-Barnhart series, of which the best known is the Gage Canadian Dictionary rev. The Penguin Canadian Dictionary , with a fairly limited word list and some serious omissions, appeared in Oxford University Press Canada established a permanent dictionary department in , which based a series of thoroughly researched current Canadian dictionaries on citation files of over 14 million words of Canadian text covering all genres and subject matter.
The first of these dictionaries, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary , was published in A second edition followed in , containing about , entries, around 2, of which are considered true Canadianisms. However, due to declining sales of print dictionaries, Oxford University Press Canada closed its dictionary division in and announced that freelancers would be assigned the task of updating future editions, though none have since been forthcoming.
A number of Canadian regional dictionaries in the same historical tradition as the OED have been published. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English ; 2nd ed. Story, W. Kirwin and J. Widdowson, uses authenticated oral evidence as well as citations from Newfoundland literature and folklore.