September 19, 2008 / 2:14 PM / 10 years ago

Democracy of language in new Internet dictionary

LONDON (Reuters) - Not satisfied with regular updates of printed dictionaries compiled by professionals, a new website has thrown open the definition of words to all comers.

A woman reads a book while sitting inside a display of an oversized book before the official opening of the 2007 book fair in Leipzig. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle offers everyone the chance to record and upload a video of themselves defining their chosen word in a complete democratization of the language that will have Samuel Johnson, the compiler of the first dictionary, turning in his grave.

One early offering is the word “bungalow” —“One storey house. Grannies live in it. Often with cats. Originally an Indian word.”

Another offering is “nascent” which suggests that wordia is a nascent technology that “takes something quite dull like a dictionary and makes it not quite as dull”.

The organizers hope their new online audio-visual dictionary will become a living language archive. Time will tell.

Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Paul Casciato

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