Some Indian words, such as kitty party, mixie and jugaad, may soon find a place in the Oxford dictionary.
“There are new words coming up for consideration such as kitty party and mixie (the Indian term for a blender),” says Alison Waters, Publisher, ELT dictionaries and reference grammar, Oxford University Press, UK. “The word that has caused controversy is jugaad (a low-cost fix). It is becoming a word that is globally recognised.” Waters is here conducting workshops for teachers on the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.
“We have software that trolls the Internet and finds a word that is not present in our database. We start to study the word and see when it first came into the language,” says Waters. “For example, words such as twerk and selfie appeared a long time ago but we decide on whether they make it to the dictionary only when they become frequent.”
Interestingly, the word selfie has its origins in Australian English, says Waters. In 2002, an Australian man got drunk, fell and cut his lip. He shot a photograph of himself and sent it out to his friends on social media saying something like: “Sorry about the focus … it was a selfie.”
Commenting on how the Internet is posing a threat to the business of publishing dictionaries, Waters said: “We are threatened by people using free dictionaries. We also have a free Web site and it hasn’t affected our print sales, but these will decline over the next 5-10 years.”