Professor James Murray, Leeann Casey, Dr Minor discussed on The Norman Goldman Show
To the show, ridiculous stories. My name is Ben we are, of course, joined with our super producer Casey peg REM. My trusty coz knoll is off on some lovely ventures on the other side of the country but will return very soon. Speaking of returning, we are incredibly fortunate today to have our returning guest host joining us Christopher haciendas. Thanks for coming. Manning's having been driving me, Casey know wherever you are whenever you are you are thank you. Yes. Oh man. I can't wait until I hope we can reveal some, the, the cool stuff that Knowle's working on when I really wish happening right now is that we would talk about no not being here. And then anyone listening to this podcast would just slowly turn around. And he's standing right behind them. Oh, that's great. It's my dream. Also, it was Halloween recently. So maybe I'm still in that mindset. I'm definitely still in that mindset man. It's the most wonderful time of the year. I love Halloween. He would you do for Halloween, dressed up as woodland creature was kind of e took the family around the neighborhood and did not accept any candy because we've got a little baby who's not old enough for candy yet. And I would feel like a real bone, taking candy from taking candy four baby. Couldn't eat it under the pretense that it's really for me, and I'm a grown man can afford mound. Can't speak highly. To your character in a very complementary way. Your candy ethics? I think that's something to be proud of. Thank you. I would have done the opposite. I would have just taken baby around. Yes. Yeah. I, I did think like maybe you would be fun to push a stroll around the neighborhood, but with no baby in there and just be the person with a an empty stroller. Oh, that's weird. That's weird. Christopher but it's not Halloween anymore. Right. We should divest. These spooky thoughts are sold. I'm always so reluctant to give up the ghost. But good writes things move on progress. That's the name of the game for the human species. Hopefully in theory today's episode is something that I thought would be fascinating for anybody. Who's a fan of words and one who's a fan of writing? Today's episode is about the strange origin of the Oxford English dictionary. Now, this is something that you and I in particular have used pretty frequently over the years, I have dictionaries of many kinds, I think, come in super handy. Whether you're professional writer, whether you're an amateur writer, whether you. Don't really care about writing at all. But you want to know what a word means. You can look it up in the dictionary. It's a great thing, and it's funny mention this because Nolan, I will often have conversations where we one of us is on a rant about something, and then we decide to use a word because it sounds particularly enticing, only to later, usually when it's just the two of us. Hanging out, only for the later go, okay. One of us needs to look that up to make sure it means what we think it means. We're using the right. Meaning where you were saying in properly, I mean, that's what the dictionary is for. But also, that's what Facebook is for social media. I think anyone who is anyone in the podcast worlds, very familiar with mispronounce words. There's a lot of words on there and say something a little incorrectly. But we rely on people like ridiculous historians. The Facebook group associated with this fine podcast to point out in a constructive and critical manner any foible any misstep any misuse of award. Oh man. You really put us on the tight rope here, man. All right. Well, let's, let's give it a go. The Oxford English dictionary has been around for a long time. But perhaps not as long as many of us would assume the work on the dictionary began, I guess, in larger historical context is fairly recent it began in eighteen fifty seven. Yeah. Well, that's when there was a call put out for a collection of words definition of words spanning the twelfth century to the present day at the time. Work. Actually didn't get underway though, until the late eighteen seventies eighteen seventy nine I believe, and it took five years for the first volume of the oh, Ye D as the kids on the street, call it to be published. Right. Right. And here we introduce our first character for this story of fella named professor James Murray. It was challenging assignment for Murray, who was the editor of this of this dictionary. The way the process, worked was relatively simple. People would send in entries for words, and the Oxford English dictionary functions as what's called an historical dictionary. Meaning it will talk about the development of a word rather than just its present day usage. So you'll see a little bit of ETA jersey in the dictionary. I mean, the thing the thing about the Oxford English dictionary, is it doesn't just give you the definition of the word, right? It goes into the history of the word. He said the first of all of the dictionary wasn't published until eighteen eighty four. This was a lifelong pursuit for Murray and his team, the final volume of the dictionary wasn't published until nineteen twenty eight. That's crazy. Yeah, that's that's insane. And. And it took a lot of blood sweat, and tears. Because we have to remember it was much more difficult to aggregate information back then. You know what I mean these people had to literally. Right. This stuff out, usually by hand and send it be a post. Yeah, a majority of us in the modern world. And I would assume most of us listening to this podcast we live in a wealth of information. We have so many things available to we have so much knowledge available to us. But I think it's really really, really easy to take that for granted rights, but you just look something up, but for you to look something up another human being had to have put that thing in a place for it to be searchable in the first place. So imagine the task of speaking, language, and thinking you know what? All these words we just said in the past twenty seconds. I just used forty of them. Catalogue them. Let's itemize them. Let's label them. I mean this is it's a crazy undertaking. It's wild. You have to define what a language is what is inside the language. What's outside the language? You have to talk to linguistics. You have to talk to answer politics, you have to talk to authors and books, and what's gobbledegook. Right. Which is that in the dictionary? I don't know. I actually it is in the. So that I think that's a very good way to paint the picture here. Professor James Murray knew this was going to be a huge laborious herculean effort. However, he underestimated the enormity of the task when they first agreed to edit this new English dictionary, they thought this is going to take a decade and this will probably be gosh. I don't know guys around seven thousand pages long in four volumes. It's called four volumes. But the ended up with something much much larger by the time the final results are published in nineteen twenty eight. It's twelve volumes long, it is comprised of four hundred and fourteen thousand eight hundred twenty five words defined and it has almost two million citations employed to illustrate what they mean as Murray is working on this. He builds a corrugated iron chef. Head that he decided to call the script Tori him and the script Aurium houses him and his small team of assistance, as well as this deluge of slips of paper that had been mailed to them that are each, you know, an entry in the dictionary, and this is all taking place in the UK is this is just one country. You know. Right. This is this isn't even trying to get the, the breadth of global knowledge. I do really like the name script Aurium. I imagine Murray having a rough day at home. Maybe the kids are being kind of a pain, and he's storms out of his house slams. I'm going to the script Aurium. To this Katori him to the script Aurium. I'm just going to start saying that I'm gonna find something or office. I'm gonna label it the script Aurium it won't be the studio that's too, on the news. But I'm looking for script Tori at next time you shout. I'm off to this. I I'm really excited to see all of our co workers look around bemusedly, and confused and befuddled -ly. But you and I will share something. For listening in on this onto leeann Casey on the case. Ladies and gentlemen. So as, as people responding to this call this, this crowd sourcing of dictionary, entries professor Murray begins to notice that there's one shining star out of all of his correspondence. The most prolific the most consistent correspondent the man who was sent in more than ten thousand entries to this developing dictionary, a guy named Dr William c minor all that Murray knows about minor is that he is. A doctor was a surgeon, he lives in kroth Orn in the English countryside in Berkshire and Murray reasonably assumes that minor must be quote, a practicing medical man of literary. With a good deal of little. Yeah. Sounds like the kind of guy who would send in sending entries to the dictionary, the dictionary project, did they call it the dictionary project at the time. I think they did dictionaries existed before the show. I think the word probably was out there and here's here's where we introduce our second character, Dr William Chester minor, an American. Yeah. So you've got this American guy, who's contributing to one of the pillars of the English language. What do we know about Dr minor? Well, we know that as you said, he does reside in the UK. He was an American, not only an American but a surgeon, not only a surgeon, but veteran veteran he, but he, he also had sort of a global background, right? So he existed in a world where many languages were available to him. His parents were from New England. They were missionaries and minor was actually born in say lawn, which today is not Lanka, so he grew up in the son of the son of Americans in a former British colony. A lot of languages are kind of swirling around him. He's in that milieu, he comes back to the US, and he ends up fighting in the civil war. He's fighting, but he's working as a surgeon, right? So he's, he's a medical doctor. He's in the civil war. He experiences some horrific things as many people did. But it seems to have really taken a toll on, Dr minor on his mental health on his well being really rough stuff. I mean, he he was in situations where he saw sort of incendiary attacks. He witnessed other soldiers burning to death. Yeah. This is terrible. Ben. I don't know if you know about this. But what Dr minor was ordered to do to a certain deserter rights..