The OUPblog celebrated its tenth anniversary last summer and – over the course of the last decade – has gone from strength to strength. In order to help the blog continue to flourish, our focus will be on expanding our community and growing our discipline specific content. Most of all, we will endeavor to inform and entertain you, the regular reader, as you are what makes the OUPblog so special.
The publishing volume of the OUPblog has finally led to the inevitable — I can no longer read every article we publish. Fortunately, I have an amazing team of deputy editors who review articles, catch (most) errors, and discover the best of our publishing over the course of the year.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015, marks the tenth anniversary of the OUPblog. In one decade our authors, staff, and friends have contributed over 8,000 blog posts, from articles and opinion pieces to Q&As in writing and on video, from quizzes and polls to podcasts and playlists, from infographics and slideshows to maps and timelines. Anatoly Liberman alone has written over 490 articles on etymology. Sorting through the finest writing and the most intriguing topics over the years seems a rather impossible task.
Quite often the first solid etymology of an English word comes from Skeat, but this is not the case with the adjective bad. In the first edition of his dictionary (1882), he could offer, with much hesitation, two Celtic cognates of bad, one of them being Irish Gaelic baodh “vain, giddy, foolish, simple.” Much later, Charles Mackay, who believed that Irish Gaelic was the source of most English words, mentioned beud “mischief, hurt” as the etymon of bad.
From wicked step-mothers to fairy god-mothers, from stock phrases such as “once upon a time” to “happily ever after”, fairy-tales permeate our culture. Disney blockbusters have recently added another chapter to the history of the fairy-tale, sitting alongside the 19th century, saccharine tales published by the Brothers Grimm and the 17th century stories written by Charles Perrault. Inspired by Marina Warner’s Once Upon a Time, we asked OUP staff members to channel their inner witches, trolls, and princesses, and reveal who their favourite fairy-tale character is and why.
We’re continuing our examination of what a book is this week, following the cultural debate that the Amazon-Hachette dispute has set off, with something a little closer to our hearts. We’ve compiled a brief list of books that changed the lives of Oxford University Press staff. Please share your books in the comments below.
Compiled by Taylor Coe
After reflecting on music that they were thankful for a few weeks ago, we have now asked Oxford University Press staffers to share music that reminds them of the New Year.
Are you one of the 17,000 students about to embark on a law course in the UK? Why not get your teeth stuck into our quiz to find out how clued up you are before you start at university? We have so many preconceptions about the law from what we see on the TV and through films — but how much do you really know?
What is a student to do with a list of citations? Are an author’s sources merely proof or can they be something more? We often discuss the challenges of the research process with students, scholars, and librarians.
By Max Sinsheimer
Recently I was chatting with a regular at my gym, an Irish man named Stephen, when he asked me what I do for a living. I told him I am an editor in the reference department at Oxford University Press, and he excitedly launched into a description of the draft manuscript he had just completed, a novel about his wild (and illicit) youth spent between Galway and the Canary Islands.
We’re planning to make several changes to the OUPblog this year to improve the site performance and your reading experience. One of the first steps will be taking place over the next couple weeks. We will change some of our navigation and categorization on the blog based on user behavior: deleting, adding, shifting, and renaming several categories. For example, our current ‘dictionaries’ category will be renamed ‘language’ and sub-categories will better reflect the full range of our language publishing from lexicography to linguistics.
Oxford University Press staff love to read so we’ve gathered together a few recommendations from what our staff read this year (although maybe not published this year).
The Christmas rush isn’t limited to retail outlets as the OUPblog and its editors have been busy the past few weeks, so here is our much delayed reading roundup.
There has also been some widespread confusion on a few things relating to GIF’s selection as Word of the Year [USA], so we thought it would be helpful to give a little roundup for clarification.
(1) Oxford Dictionaries USA and The New Oxford American Dictionary (and Oxford Dictionaries UK and Oxford Dictionary of English) are not the Oxford English Dictionary. OUP publishes many dictionaries and the OED is only one of them.
To gif, or not to gif–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of crude animation
Or to take arms against a sea of static
And by opposing end them.
By Mark Davie
It’s curious that the language I’ve mostly worked with — Italian — has provided the adage which is routinely quoted in any discussion of the challenges of translation, and yet no-one seems to know who first coined the phrase. It appears in the plural form “Traduttori traditori” — “translators traitors” — in a collection of Tuscan proverbs by the 19th-century writer Giuseppe Giusti.