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Jamaica Kincaid and Sarah Ogilvie: Empire of Words: An Unsentimental Journey to the Birth of the OED

In conversation
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Episode Summary

The OED represents arguably the first example of global crowd-sourcing and documents a language rich in loanwords from other cultures. At the same time, it has been considered emblematic of the British Empire’s colonial enterprise. Writer Jamaica Kincaid and linguist/author Sarah Ogilvie Words of the World: a Global History of the OED, discuss the complexities of this relationship.

Presented as part of the Library Foundation’s project, Hollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary.

Participant(s) Bio

Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John’s, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, and Mr. Potter. She teaches at Harvard University.

Sarah Ogilvie teaches linguistics at Stanford University. She was formerly an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Her books include Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary.