Map Reader’s Companion for Upland England

I’ve had a lot of terms sent in over the last year or so. Hundreds of people have been generous with their knowledge, sharing words from their local areas, from their memories of childhood and from their professional expertise. Each submission is a treasure and I’m very grateful for them all whether they arrive alone or in a cluster. Several people have offered whole troves of words but this week I was sent a truly magnificent haul from Bryan Miller, who 20 years ago started a similar project to mine but focusing on the English uplands. Bryan has collected hundreds …

Lost for words

There’s recently been revived interest in a story that I think I first heard about in Robert Macfarlane’s essay “A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook“. Back in 2007 the Oxford University Press announced a new edition of their Junior Dictionary (aimed at 7-9 year-olds) and it was noticed that a number of nature words that had been in previous editions were now absent, in their place were a selection of new words like “broadband”, “voicemail” and “blog”. In all, 47 words for plants, animals and natural landforms were cut in 2007. My reaction to this was a mixture of sadness and dejection. The …

The footsteps that made the path

Since the BBC and the Guardian featured the Landreader, I’ve had hundreds of supportive messages and submissions of terms for the glossary from all over the UK and abroad. It has been incredibly encouraging to find so many people receptive to the ideas behind this project. While all the attention is welcome, and gratifying, seeing the project described as “One man’s quest to save lost words…”  has made me slightly uncomfortable since the path that this project has taken has been shaped and directed by many other works. Here are a few of them: Home Ground: Language for an American …