Friday, April 10, 2009

Loss of Nature words

This was brought to my attention in a twitter from Orion Magazine. The latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary is getting rid of the following words, many of which pertain to Nature and replacing them with words also listed below. The replacement vocabulary does not look very inspiring even if it is more reflective of a the contemporary experience of growing up in an urban environment. The thinking seems to be the as children are more often growing up in environments that are not connected to Nature that the words that used to be useful are no longer required. Sad I think. And also dangerous as you would think in this period of climate change that children more than ever need to be connected to the natural world and understand the importance of that relationship to them. The loss of words signifies that deeper loss of connection.

Words taken out:
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade, carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe, dwarf, elf, goblin, abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar.

Adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.

Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

Words put in:
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue.

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro.

Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kid turns seven

Just the other week my little girl turned seven!! My daughter who started out as a very tiny scrap, arriving prematurely two months early. Easter Sunday, full moon baby.

Seven years seems to mark a very definite slice of life. She is now nearly the tallest in her grade, filled with wit, energy and fun.
I could not imagine my life without her and felt that way from the moment she was born.

If ever I am questioning the magic inherent in being alive I transport myself back to the moment before she was born. I had a normal birth, except it was too early. Only in the last stages of labour did the doc notice that her heartbeat was getting a bit weaker so he asked me to try to get her out in one push. I closed my eyes and let out a kind of haka yell and as soon as I did that I was transported into flying galaxies and shooting comets. I couldn't believe this sense that I was really out in the far reaches of space and light. The doc asked for me to be quiet as the little one had arrived and I opened my eyes to see Aurora.

I didn't have any drugs so it was just either a moment of hallucination brought on by all the birthing hormones or ... that's where we come from! Who knows but it was a rather fantastic feeling!!