Friday, October 03, 2008

Canadian Oxford Dictionary staff
(all of them) laid off

Dictionary def. 1. A printed and bound book of definitions and a spelling aid, made redundant by the proliferation of free online sources. 2. A place where real, knowledgeable lexicographers used to work. 3. An icon whose disappearance is a sad sign of the times. (See Canadian Oxford Dictionary)

According to a story in the Globe and Mail, declining sales in recent years mean two full-time and two part-time employees -- including Katherine Barber, the full-time editor -- have been let go.

David Stover, president of the Canadian company, says the company will continue to publish the dictionary with the assistance of Canadian freelancers and the lexicography department in Oxford, England.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A total tragedy! The COD is the go-to for so many in the biz. Canadian English deserves serious lexicography, particularly *because* it sits so close to US English, and it's a damn shame we'll be losing it. Well, I guess they did say the COD will be supported by freelancers. Like everything else.

2:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did my part, I bought a copy for my wife for her birthday a couple of years ago! (Hey, she's an editor ... and no she wasn't that impressed ... so I bought an iPod for her last year.)

3:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of which brings up the COD question of the day: why does it have an entry for fist-fucking (yes, it's hyphenated, as is, apparently, fist-fuck and fist-fucker), and not Mother Nature?

4:39 pm  
Blogger Leah Sandals said...

This is so sad. The COD is always nearby when I'm copy editing, and provides such a valuable reference for the profession.

It also, I'd argue, helped generate interest in words in Canada, spawning in part the CBC radio show And sometimes Y and Katherine Barber's book Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs: And Other Fascinating Facts About the English Language.

Hopefully it will just go online? But since they've actually chopped the staff, I don't know how certain that would be.

2:14 pm  

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