July 18, 2012

Dictionary that allows users to contribute their own words

Want to whet your wordy appetite? A popular publishing house is allowing users to coin new words and submit them on-line.

If the word is accepted, the submitter will be offered the chance to be permanently credited in the Collins' English dictionary website, www.Collinsdictionary.Com, below their word's definition.

Collins said opening the normally closed process would make the way the English language is recorded more democratic.

The site was launched last year and is based in Glasgow, where Collins English dictionary print editions and other best-selling reference titles are produced.

Collins editors have already submitted a selection of words, including 'omnishambles', originally from The Thick Of It and more recently used by Ed Miliband, 'superphone', tash-on', a word for kissing, popularised by reality TV show Geordie Shore, and 'twitlit'.

"We know people are passionate about the preservation and evolution of the English language, and we want to tap into that as new words continue to capture the public imagination," Alex Brown, head of digital at Collins, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.

"For Collins on-line dictionary, it was essential that we keep our ear close to the ground listening out for new words emerging from pop culture, science and technology 'Most dictionaries are static. By allowing the public to truly participate, we're ensuring that we stay on top of the evolving English language," Brown said.

All words submitted will go through the same review process by the Collins dictionary editors.

According to publishers, the criteria for inclusion of words ranges from frequency of use, number of sources and staying power.

Evidence will be based on the publisher's 4.5 billion-word database of language called the Collins Corpus, which takes words from a wide range of spoken and written English sources, including newspapers, radio and social media.

Editors will provide the feed back on a submitted word within two or three weeks, and words that are not initially accepted will continue to be monitored and reviewed over the following year.