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Thursday, 31 January 2013
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This subsection illustrates a further area in our investigations: what the OED3 revisers are doing as they revise and rewrite the original material, most of it untouched since the first edition of OED published 1884-1928.

The third edition of OED currently underway, edited by John Simpson, is the first to attempt a wholesale revision of the Dictionary (see Simpson and others 2004b, Brewer 2004). It is a truly outstanding achievement. The work is being compiled by a team of around 60 lexicographers mostly based in Oxford but with an outpost in New York too. Every entry in the Dictionary is being re-written from scratch, with new research incorporated on each constituent element: spelling and pronunciation, etymology, quotations of earliest, intermediate, and latest identifiable use, definitions, and semantic analysis. For more information, go to our pages on OED editions, updates and revisions.

Note: the second edition of OED, published in 1989, did not set out to revise the first edition (completed 1928); it merely spliced the twentieth-century Supplement (1972-86) with OED1 and added 5,000 new words.  

In what ways are the present-day Oxford lexicographers re-visiting previous decisions about which sources to quote? Will they change existing quotation proportions in the OED, adding more quotations from the eighteenth century, for example, or from sources written by women? Fewer quotations from the great writers of the traditional literary canon? Or will they retain and/or extend existing preferences?

How would or might such decisions be described and justified?

OED3 quotation sources
Wills and inventories
Online sources
OED3 1150-1499
OED3 1500-1899
OED3 1500-1599
Top female sources
More female sources

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