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Empire of Words: An Unsentimental Journey to the Birth of the OED

Sarah Ogilvie, Jamaica Kincaid
In conversation
March 15, 2016

The OED represents arguably the first example of global crowd-sourcing and documents a language rich in loanwords from other cultures. At the same time, it has been considered emblematic of the British Empire’s colonial enterprise. Writer Jamaica Kincaid and linguist/author Sarah Ogilvie (Words of the World: a Global History of the OED) discuss the complexities of this relationship. Presented as part of the Library Foundation’s project, Hollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary.

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