Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Oxford English Dictionary is Really Interesting

Yes, with a blog title like that, I am an English major! Or as one of my Pinterest boards is titled an "English Major Geek". Isn't that punny? :)

Anyway, in the next two weeks from today I have two papers due, and two finals. Also, exactly one month from today is the conference I'm co-chairing. So I'm only blogging because it's Tuesday, I said I would, and I want to cross it off my to do list! So I'm going to share with you my favourite school project I've done so far.

My English class last semester was really, really interesting, and we did a lot of neat stuff at the library. We also did a bunch of work related to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), including reading this surprisingly fascinating book:

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
By Simon Winchester

I had no idea that creating the first comprehensive British English dictionary had been so much work, or had involved so much drama! I highly recommend it.

The corresponding project was to take two words I use in regular conversation, but that aren't in the dictionary, and write them up, with proper citations, as if they were being added to the dictionary. It was so much fun! I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just two, but I eventually decided on Harry Potter fandom words. I got one of the highest marks in the class, and I was quite pleased, because really, the Harry Potter character I identify with the most is Hermione. :)

(I apologize that my nice tidy formatting didn't survive copy and paste! But if you have a subscription to the OED, clicking on the links should still work! Now...to work on my history paper. Too bad I can't get an 'A' for blogging...)

Quidditch, n.

Pronunciation: /kwɪdɪtʃ/

Etymology: Invented by J. K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling (b. 1965), British author of children's fantasy fiction (see quot. 1997)

A magical sport, played while seated on flying broomsticks. A combination of basketball, rugby, and a scavenger hunt, it involves two teams of seven players per side, as well as three balls; a Quaffle (the goal-scoring ball, handled by the three Chasers), two Bludgers (which are bewitched attack the players, and must be fended off by two Beaters), and the Golden Snitch (bewitched to hide and must be found by the Seeker). The Keeper guards his or her team’s three goal hoops. Recently the game has been adapted for use at Muggle schools. The Muggle version is played on foot, and often the role of Golden Snitch is filled by a Muggle also, due to the lack of enchanted flying balls and brooms available in Muggle sport shops.

1997    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 1997 “Play Quidditch at all?” “No”, Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.

2003    Physical & Health Education Journal Summer 2003 The event, held on Rowling’s birthday, was not only successful at increasing English grades, but let to the creation of the newly popular school sport called “Quidditch”.

2009    Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice 2009 Vol. 4, No. 1 Judge Robert B.  Patterson found that the unofficial Harry Potter Lexicon written by Steve Vander Ark and published by RDR Books infringed the copyright in the seven Harry Potter novels and two companion works (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages) and that the defence of fair use did not apply.

shipping, v.

Pronunciation: /ˈʃɪpɪŋ/

Etymology: The suffix ‘ship’ abbreviated from the noun ‘relationship’ and used as a verb. Developed in the late 20th century, on the Internet.

The psychological connection of a fan of a work of fiction (i.e. a book, movie, or television series) to a certain relational paring of the fictional characters. A dedicated fan will ship their ‘one true pair’, and perhaps have other minor ships, and the act of shipping may involve writing fan fiction, creating fan art, discussing or advocating the relationship in fan forums or on blogs, or simply by being emotionally invested in the outcome of the characters’ situation. The more passionate the fan, the more intense the involvement in shipping culture, usually online. Trendy shipping slogans include “I ship them so hard it hurts” and “I will go down with this ship”.

2005    The San Francisco Chronicle August 2005 In the Harry Potter fandom, 'shipping (short for "relationshipping") simply means championing a romantic relationship between certain series characters, either within canon or in works of fan fiction (fan-penned fiction that spins off an original narrative).

2009    University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 70.3 2009 Related concepts include het (romantic and/or erotic stories involving characters of different genders, such as Harry/Hermione), femmeslash and femslash (slash with female rather than male characters, e.g. Buffy/Faith from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer), transgender slash, friendship fiction (indicated by an ampersand, such as Harry & Draco, to denote a story in which the two characters are friends, in contrast to their canonical relationship), and shipping (devotion to a particular non-canonical romantic relationship, or ship). Ships are often given names, such as HMS Harmony (for Harry/Hermione)…

2010    Tor.com January 2010 For those who’ve never heard of the phrase “shipping war”: this is fandom lingo for flamewars disagreements amongst fans about intimate relationships between fictional characters. Various opinions on character pairings—canon or not, bizarre or not, straight or not—are also referred to as “ships.” You may have heard of references to the Hermione/Harry ship and the Hermione/Ron ship in Harry Potter fandom; this is what that means.

Works Cited

Chonin, Neva. “If you’re An Obsessed Harry Potter fan, Voldemort Isn't the Problem. It's Hermione Versus Ginny”. The San Francisco Chronicle. 3 Aug. 2005. Factiva. Web. 2 March 2012.

Hall, Susan. “Rowling and Warner Win Lexicon Battle, Fair Use Proponents Gain Strategic Advantage”. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. 4.1 (2009). Web. 29 Feb. 2012.

Jericho, Arachne. The Sherlock Holmes Fandom: Dawn of the Shipping Wars. Tor.com. Macmillan, 4 Jan. 2010. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.

Rowling, J.K. . Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2000. 60. Print.

Schwabach, Aaron. "The Harry Potter Lexicon and the World of Fandom: Fan Fiction, Outsider Works, and Copyright". University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 70.3 (2009): 387-434. OmniFile Full Text Select. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.

Smith, Kara. “Harry Potter Inspires a New Classroom and Competitive Sport: Muggle Quidditch”. Physical & Health Education Journal 69.2 (2003). ProQuest. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.

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