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A photographic journey through a dictionary by Jimmy Symonds






RRRRRR SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS T T T T T T T T T UU V V V WWWWW X YZ Words are a means of conveying meaning. People spoke words long before they learned the art of writing. And the relationship between words as sounds, letters, and images is complex. Dictionaries -- especially historical dictionaries like the Oxford English Dictionary -- appear to concentrate on words as sequences of letters. This is because our knowledge of the words of the past comes through written documents. But remember that words are much more than this. The words illustrated by the photographs in this Lexicon exhibition are all, of course, in the Oxford English Dictionary. The dictionary tracks their history in English, from their earliest recorded occurrence. In addition, it investigates how each word entered English. Wherever you look in the English language, you will find that each word has a history and a story to tell. And the story isn’t just about that individual word, but about the society that has used it. The members of the Philological Society can hardly have anticipated the effect they would have on the study of English when they met in London for their regular meetings in 1857. One of their members, Richard Chenevix Trench, gave two talks entitled Some deficiencies in our English dictionaries. By the time Trench had finished, the Society was galvanized into action.

They would start collecting materials for a great new dictionary of English which would be a true record of the English language from the earliest days to the present. It’s probably a good thing the Society didn’t stop and think too hard about what they were proposing, as by any ordinary measure they would have been daunted by their objective. But this was the age of classification. Great systems of classification were being drawn up in the sciences: geology, cartography, chemistry, biology, natural history. Why shouldn’t the English language have its own classification system? The Society issued appeals to the public to provide materials for this great new project. Any instance of a word used in a new or interesting way might be of use, as would workaday examples of everyday vocabulary. Send your findings to the Society. Eventually thousands of people were making their contribution to this enormous undertaking. The materials were sent in on slips of paper, and religiously filed in alphabetical order in the dictionary’s great file store. The initial collection of data continued for twenty years before James Murray was appointed in 1879 as Editor of the new dictionary, and editorial work got under way in earnest. In 1884 the first instalment of the dictionary appeared, covering the words from A to ant. Time passed, the end of the nineteenth century came and went, and the dictionary had reached J. New editors were appointed to work alongside Murray, but despite the extra staff Murray himself did not live to see the end of the great work. He died in 1915 at the age of 78 while working on the letter T. Editors were drafted into military service during the Great War, and the pace of the dictionary slowed dramatically. It wasn’t until 1928 that the final instalment hit the presses and the dictionary was complete.

Almost at once a Supplement was started, ‘wedge-shaped’ as most of its content fell in the early letters of the alphabet. It was published in 1933. Surely the language had by now been captured in its entirety? No - the language moves on relentlessly, changing shape year by year. Another Supplement appeared between 1972 and 1986, and again the language marched on, and contributors sent more and more slips into the dictionary’s file. Words don’t live on their own, unconnected, independent. Language is a network, and words and meanings influence each other. Nowadays the Oxford English Dictionary is undergoing a wholesale revision and update – the first root-and-branch overhaul it has had in over one hundred years. And the new edition reflects this linguistic network. It’s now published online, with sections updated four times a year. Readers –- or users -– can follow links between entries on-screen, and can explore the relationships between words and their meanings dynamically. Look at tree, and then click to branch, leaf, root. You soon leave oaks and beeches behind, and are in the world of railways (branch lines), books (leaves), genealogy (roots), and out into the language along other trails. You can investigate words by date: which words came into English at the same time as photography? What does that tell us about the dawn of photography? How many words have straight in their definition? Or crooked, or bent? Could Shakespeare have known the word elementary (yes) or preferential (no)? The more we experience, the more words we need to capture that experience: happy, sad, creative, humdrum; red, yellow, blue; word, sound, image. Watch what’s around you and find out how best to express it. John Simpson, Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary

Antrim Borough Council :: News

27/10/2011 17:11





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kids think 'out of the box' with jimmy symonds

KIDS THINK 'OUT OF THE BOX' WITH JIMMY SYMONDS Thursday, 07 September 2006 A unique creative arts workshop for children by celebrated artist and writer Jimmy Symonds is being held on Saturday 7 October at the Greystone Library, Antrim. Provided by Clotworthy Arts Centre, the all day 'Lexicon' workshop running from 10am-4pm will take 8-10 year olds on a dynamic creative journey of creative writing and visual arts under the masterly tuition of Jimmy. Children will participate in amusing and stimulating 'word games' revealing the power of words and language through the use of sculptural objects, poems and stories. Jimmy Symonds has exhibited throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. Based in Oxford, Jimmy studied at the Royal College of Art, London and exhibitions include 'Water, water everywhere' at the Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York (2004); 'Stealing Beauty' at the Beardsmore Gallery, London (2003) and 'Perspectives' at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2005). Having begun his career in teaching, Jimmy is also an Educational Consultant for cultural organisations including the British Council and has facilitated workshops for established galleries including Tate Britain as well as publishing several books for children. The children's arts workshop coincides with Jimmy's 'Lexicon' art exhibition hosted at Clotworthy Arts Centre from 3rd October to 3rd November. 'Lexicon' is an imaginative and fascinating photographic exhibition exploring the significance of the modern dictionary and depicting common word associations that illustrate everyday life and are both humorous and intriguing. During his short stay in the borough, Jimmy will also be conducting educational arts workshops with some lucky local primary schools on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th October. Selected works created by children in all workshops will be collectively displayed in the 'Local Lexicon' Exhibition in Randalstown, Antrim and Greystone libraries from 6-30 November. So why not encourage your child to 'think out of the box' and book your place through Clotworthy Arts Centre on tel: 028 9448 1338 now! Places are limited to only 10 and cost ÂŁ4 per child. Community Arts Officer Desima Connolly comments 'this is a unique opportunity for local kids to engage with such a renowned artist and respected educator. Jimmy has a packed schedule travelling the world on such projects, and Clotworthy is delighted to offer this chance to local people'. '..children loved the way he ran the workshops which made them enjoy writing...they created wonderful stories.' 'Children find his technique stimulating which makes them love to write' British Council For further information contact Desima Connolly, Community Arts Outreach Officer, Clotworthy Arts Centre on Tel: 028 9448 1338 Email: .


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Celebrating the centenary of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary

FREE Exhibition

Words of the Century Jimmy Symonds October Gallery August 17th – 20th 12.30 - 5.30 See over for map.

October Gallery 24 Old Gloucester Street Bloomsbury LONDON WC1N 3AL Nearest Tubes: Holborn, Russell Square and Chancery Lane Buses: 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 91, 168, 188 and 243

Tate Britain | Ideas Factory '04-5


25/10/2011 21:58

The Artist Educators

Alex Somerville Alex Somerville is a storyteller and has gained experience working with children and adults in a variety of settings, particularly in art galleries. Alex has delivered performance and workshops in primary and nursery schools, and recently did a 12-week project of storytelling and mask-making called Building a Future with Our Stories. For a number of years Alex has been running Speaking Pictures at Tate Britain, a 90-minute gallery workshop aimed at key stage one and two children. Jimmy Symonds Jimmy Symonds is a teacher, photographer and creative writer. He works with people of all ages and abilities, running special workshops and giving individual advice. Jimmy has an MA from the Royal College of Art, and has written several books for children.

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The Legal 500 > Ogier > St Helier, JERSEY > Press Releases > Ogier Jersey supports Extended Curriculum Programme


25/10/2011 21:57

St Helier

OGIER HOUSE, THE ESPLANADE, ST HELIER, JE4 9WG, JERSEY Tel: 01534 504000 Fax: 01534 504444 Web: Email: Tortola, St Peter Port, St Helier, London, Hong Kong, Grand Cayman , and 1 more

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Ogier Jersey supports Extended Curriculum Programme June 2009

70 Year 5/6 students from around the island attended a creative writing course held at various primary schools recently as part of the Extended Curriculum Programme organised by Education, Sport and Culture and supported by Ogier Jersey. Jimmy Symonds, a photographic artist and highly experienced teacher of creative activities for children of all ages, led a week of one day courses filled with fun, quirky and intellectually stimulating creative writing games, including 'the 99 second poem', and choosing photographs from 'lexicon', a photographic journey through the Oxford English Dictionary recently commissioned by the British Council, and connecting them to make a story. The emphasis was on the children enjoying writing and sharing their ideas, poems and stories with the group. Nicola Easton, Business Development and Marketing Manager at Ogier Jersey, attended the first session at St John's Primary School. She said: "It was fantastic to see the children so involved in Jimmy's games. Some of the stories were concocted by selecting different coloured paint swatches with names such as 'blackberry jam' and 'lemon dust' and the children produced imaginative, funny and heart-warming pieces far beyond their years. It was truly wonderful to watch their creative talents come alive under Jimmy's unique style." Kathryn Robinson, Educational Psychologist at the Education, Sport and Culture Department said: "We are delighted that Ogier have presented us with the opportunity to organise activities to extend the children's learning opportunities. As a result, children have produced creative literacy work of the highest quality and extended their thinking beyond the curriculum. The highly positive feedback and thank you letters received are testament to the success of this programme. This is one example of how partnership between business and education can benefit so many young people." The Ogier Extended Curriculum Programme will continue with Maths Masterclasses and other initiatives in the Autumn term.

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