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Dictionaries

I have just relinquished my very large Webster Dictionary. It was chunkier than two phone books, another anachronism. More often than not these past few years, I have looked words up on the internet, and received definitions and etymologies—instantly.

This particular dictionary of which I speak today, and which I relinquished the day before yesterday and already miss, was published by Barnes & Noble ten years ago or so and when an erudite friend of mine told me about it—it was on sale—I rushed out to buy it. Not that there was a rush on dictionaries, but I get excited about dictionaries and the words therein, words I might one day make use of in my writings. So I bought the dictionary, a dictionary of the American English language, which complemented the very large two volume Oxford English Dictionary bequeathed to me by my stepfather, an immigrant who learned English as a Second Language and spoke it with depth and distinction.

I have no idea how or when the Webster will arrive in Mongolia, where it is headed. A former colleague, who taught English there for two years, sends boxes of resource materials to a small village school. Maybe by the time the tome arrives, the villagers will have internet service and they can use the dictionary as a door stop or winter fuel. They might or might not have a memory of the Oxford tomes, which I donated several years ago. To follow the path of these donations would be an interesting adventure, into the past, which is just a few steps behind us.
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