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Oxford English Dictionary Extends Hunt for Regional Words around the World.

London, June 20 (ONA) --- The Oxford English Dictionary is

asking the public to help it mine the regional differences of English

around the world to expand its record of the language, with early

submissions ranging from New Zealand's "munted" to Hawaii's


Last year, a collaboration between the OED, the BBC and the

Forward Arts Foundation to find and define local English words

resulted in more than 100 new regional words and phrases being

added to the dictionary, from Yorkshire's "ee bah gum" to the north

east's "cuddy wifter", a left-handed person. Now, the OED is widening

its search to English speakers around the world, with associate editor

Eleanor Maier calling the early response "phenomenal," as editors

begin to draft a range of suggestions for inclusion in the dictionary.

These range from Hawaii's "hammajang", meaning "in a

disorderly or shambolic state", to the Scottish word for a swimming

costume, "dookers" or "duckers", and New Zealand's "munted",

meaning "broken or wrecked". The OED is also looking to include the

word "chopsy", a Welsh term for an overly talkative person; "frog-

drowner", which Americans might use to describe a torrential downpour

of rain; "brick", which means "very cold" to residents of New Jersey and

New York City; and "round the Wrekin", meaning "in a lengthy or

roundabout manner" in the Midlands.

The dictionary has already found that, depending on location,

a picture hanging askew might be described as "agley",

"catawampous", "antigodlin" or "ahoo" by an English speaker, while a

loved one could be called a "doy", "pet", "dou-dou", "bubele", "alanna"


"The OED aims to cover all types of English, including standard

English, scientific and technical vocabulary, literary words, slang, and

regionalisms. So it's important to include these words to enable us to

present a picture of the English language in all its forms," said Maier.

The Words Where You Are appeal is looking for more

suggestions. These words will go alongside the regional words

suggested by members of the UK public last year, when BBC Radio

listeners were asked to send in their local turns of phrase, which were

later included in poems by authors including Liz Berry and Hollie

McNish for a National Poetry Day project.

"We were surprised and pleased by the number of regional words we

were able to include as a result," said Maier. "With the public's

suggestions as a starting point we were able to unearth a rich seam of

regional vocabulary."

Some of the words suggested in the UK date back centuries,

such as "zamzawed" -- Devon's term for food or a meal that has been

spoiled by overcooking -- to more recent coinages such as "jarg", used

in Liverpool to refer to something false or misleading. Other additions

now in the OED include "antwacky", meaning old-fashioned, and

"barry", meaning great, with more to come.

Maier said that it can be difficult for the OED's lexicographers to

identify regional words, as they are more often spoken than written

down, and the editors require citable evidence to include a new


"In recent years, resources such as Twitter have been a great way for

us to monitor the words that people are using informally in particular

parts of the world and this, combined with targeted appeals, allows a

lot more of these words to be identified and researched," she said.

"Tarzy", for example, is a Middlesbrough word meaning a makeshift

rope swing used to swing over a river or stream. Lexicographers have

so far dated it back to 2003, but Maier said that it is likely to have been

used before that, with a colleague's mother remembering using it as a

child in the 1970s. The word can only have arisen in the 20th century,

however, as it derives from the Edgar Rice Burroughs' character


"Regional words indicate that their users come from a particular place

and often contribute to one's sense of identity," said Maier. "You know

you are home when words such as tarzy ... can be used in the

knowledge that they will be understood."

Regional vocabulary has been included in the OED since its

first edition, with many of the public's suggestions, such as "ginnel" (an

alleyway), "grockle" (a tourist), "far-welted" (describing a sheep on its

back), "nesh" (cold, susceptible to cold), "clarty" (very muddy), "sneck"

(a latch), "kaylied" (drunk), and "throng" (busy), already listed, the

British Guardian newspaper reported.

--- Ends/KH

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Publication:Oman News Agency
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 20, 2018
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