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Updating Languages

Languages change and evolve continually with the passing of time. Words are constantly added and removed, or even loaned from other languages, or given new meanings. For this reason, dictionaries are never finished, but are a living work which should be updated periodically so that they reflect these changes and the new forms of language which appear.

But, who chooses and updates these words in the official dictionaries of each country? Well, there are countries, like the United Kingdom, where there is nobody who oversees the changes in the English language. In other countries there is an organisation or institution which is responsible for the regulation and updating of the country’s language. This is the Real Academia Española (Royal Academy of Spanish) in Spain, and La Accademia della Crusca (Crusca Academy) in Italy.

According to experts, while the RAE seems more conservative and somewhat reluctant to add certain modern terms or neologisms, English dictionaries “are more open, they are more receptive to linguistic change.” The content of the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, is updated four times a year. In its previous update, which took place in March, 1900 changes were made, and the most modern expressions and neologisms were included, such as LOL (laugh out loud), FYI (for your information), OMG (oh my God). These terms are being used more and more in electronic communications, such as text messages, social networks, chats and emails.

Finally, here’s another new addition, which particularly grabbed my attention: the verb “ego-surfing”, which defines the act of searching for your own name online (who hasn’t done it at least once?).

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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