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Exploring the Oxford Dictionary
December 12, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
An event every week that begins at 2:00pm on Wednesday, repeating until December 19, 2018
AT LIFELONG ( 5 sessions, $40)
Description: The history of this monumental achievement, which is marking its 90th anniversary in 2018, has been told in such popular books as Caught in the Web of Words by K.M. Elisabeth Murray (1977) and The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (1998). This course will review some of the fascinating human-interest material in these and other sources but will look more closely at what this dictionary is, what it does, and why it interests non-specialists as well as why it is criticized by some specialists. We will consider editorial policy governing selection (inclusion and exclusion), etymologies and word histories, definitions and meanings, illustrative quotations, the thesaurus component of the online version, and more. We will also consider how it relates to similar endeavors by two illustrious lexicographers, Doctor Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster.
Instructor: Barry Adams, Professor of English Emeritus at Cornell, also served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Religious Studies Program in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. Since retirement, he has taught a variety of courses at Lifelong. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Finger Lakes, and volunteers at Red Cross blood drives.