The Word Detective

Episodes

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0120170313

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson describes how the OED got started in the mid-19th century. He relates how he joined the staff as a fledgling lexicographer in the 1970s, and was soon given the job of revising the dictionary entry for the word 'queen'.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Read by Nigel Anthony

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0220170314

0220170314

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson is put in charge of the New Words group, and starts to investigate the world of Rastafarianism. The poet Benjamin Zephaniah teaches him the fine art of "skanking". We also learn some lesser-known English proverbs and about John's work on The Australian National Dictionary.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Read by Nigel Anthony

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0220170314

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson is put in charge of the New Words group, and starts to investigate the world of Rastafarianism. The poet Benjamin Zephaniah teaches him the fine art of "skanking". We also learn some lesser-known English proverbs and about John's work on The Australian National Dictionary.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Read by Nigel Anthony

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0320170315

0320170315

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson describes how the OED became digitised in the 1980s and the Second Edition was completed.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0320170315

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson describes how the OED became digitised in the 1980s and the Second Edition was completed.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0420170316

0420170316

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson visits the USA and Japan for the launch of the Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary. We learn of the birth of his disabled daughter.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0420170316

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, John Simpson visits the USA and Japan for the launch of the Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary. We learn of the birth of his disabled daughter.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0520170317

0520170317

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, it's 1993 and John Simpson is appointed Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He finds himself in trouble with the British Potato Council for the inclusion of the phrase "couch potato".

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20170317

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going, but the best way to peer into the future is to look at the past. John Simpson brings to life a tradition of researching and editing, describing the way in which the Oxford English Dictionary is written and updated - based on historical principles showing how language evolves.

John Simpson joined the staff of the OED in the pre-digital 1970s. He retired as Chief Editor in 2013, having overseen the digitisation of the dictionary in the 1980s, before taking it online in 2000.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, he gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

In today's episode, it's 1993 and John Simpson is appointed Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He finds himself in trouble with the British Potato Council for the inclusion of the phrase "couch potato".

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Read by Nigel Anthony.

Producer David Blount

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.