Sunday, 25 January 2009

Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary's Descendant

Photograph /fṓtə graaf, gràf/ n. picture produced with a camera an image produced on light-sensitive film or array inside a camera, especially a print or slide made from the developed film or from a digitized array image, or a reproduction in a newspaper, magazine, or book ▪ v. (-graphs, -graphing, -graphed) 1. vti take a photograph of sb or sth to produce an image of sth by pointing a camera at it and allowing light briefly to fall on the film inside 2. vi. be photographed with a particular result to be able to be photographed, or to have a particular quality or appearance in a photograph ◦ Scenes like this photograph best in bright sunlight. [Mid-19thC]

The final part of the Everyday Household Objects Series comes in the form of an entry into the Encarta World English Dictionary. I was actually taking a series of photographs of the entry for F-Stop with the intention of talking about depth of field and aperture size etc. but the entry on the column next to it was another word which began with the letter “F” and, according to the dictionary, is “an offensive term used as a command dismissing sb in an angry or contemptuous way” and only realised when I put the images on my computer, so in the name of public decency I decided to photograph the definition above instead.

The following excerpts is from the Introduction to the First Edition preface to the Encarta World English Dictionary, and was written by Dr Kathy Rooney

“The English language has changed. One in five of the world’s population speaks English. Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language. Over 375 million people speak English as their second language. English is the main international language of business, pop music, sport, advertising, academic conferences, travel, airports, air-traffic control, diplomacy, science and technology. It is estimated that English is the language of over 80 percent of information stored in the world’s computers and 85 percent of Internet home pages, and that English is the first language of 68 percent of Web user”.

Not bad going, but the statistics for the Encarta World English Dictionary are more impressive…

“The Encarta World English Dictionary has over 100,000 headwords (the words you look up), including 10,000 biographical and geographical entries, and over 3.5 million words of text”

Finally, the following excerpt is from “History of the English Language – a brief overview” and was written by Professor Christian J. Kay, Professor Lee Pederson and Anne H Soukhanov. I included it in this post simply because it interested me…

“Written records of Old English survive from the seventh century AD. At first sight their language may seem like a foreign language to speakers of Modern English. However, if you look at the following Old English sentence, and at its literal translation into Modern English below, you should see some of the connections between the two as well as the kinds of changes that have occurred.

“Pæt hus feoll and hys hryre wæs mycel”

“The house fell and its destruction was great”

Some of the words in this sentence have changed only slightly in spelling and pronunciation, like hus “house” and feoll “fall”; one word and has not changed at all. The Old English alphabet had letters that have disappeared from Modern English, such as [ Þ ] called “thorn” and pronounced /th/, and [ æ ], called “ash” and pronounced /a/. The old English word pæt is this the same as Modern English “that”, although its use was somewhat different. Other words, such as hryre, have disappeared altogether or survice only in some varieties, mainly in Scots; mycel, for example survives as the Scottish mickle, meaning “a little”.

The only post production was to drop the colour temperature and increase the brightness. For those of you who have been following the entries here, I hope you’ve enjoyed the series. Any ideas and suggestions on how to improve the images would be very welcome!

Photograph details: Nikon D40. Focal length 55 mm, ISO-400, exp: 1/60 sec. F-stop f/5.6

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1 comment:

  1. love the photo, and thanks for commenting on my blog, i really apreciate any comments i get, i am currently a photography student so the more input the better :)



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