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Bruce Moore

Bruce Moore

Bruce Moore, editor of the second edition of the Australian National Dictionary (2016), was director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre from 1994 to 2011. His recent publications include What's Their Story: A History of Australian Words (OUP, 2010), The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary 5th edn (OUP, 2009), Speaking Our Language: The Story of Australian English (OUP, 2008), The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary, 6th edn (OUP, 2007), Australian Aboriginal Words in English 2nd edn, R.M.W. Dixon, Bruce Moore, W.S. Ramson, & Mandy Thomas (OUP, 2006).

Bruce Moore reviews ‘The Book of Beginnings: A miscellany of the origins of superstitions, customs, phrases and sayings’ by R. and L. Brasch

April 2005, no. 270 01 April 2005
Dr Rudolph (Rudy) Brasch’s career as a rabbi took him from Germany to London and, finally, in 1949, to the Temple Emmanuel in Sydney, where he remained for thirty years. His learning was wide and eclectic, and this is reflected in The Book of Beginnings, which he compiled with the assistance of his wife, Li Brasch. Dr Brasch died in November 2004, at the age of ninety-two. ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews ‘Australia’s Language Potential’ by Michael Clyne

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
If anyone is qualified to speak authoritatively on the nature and role of community languages in Australia, it is Michael Clyne, who has spent much of his academic career researching these languages. His latest book is firmly rooted in research, but it differs from some of his earlier work in that it is clearly directed at the widest possible audience. It is a wake-up call, exploring the relations ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'The Cambridge Encyclopedia Of The English Language (Second Edition)' by David Crystal

November 2003, no. 256 01 November 2003
The first edition of David Crystal’s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language appeared in 1995, and was widely acclaimed. It covered an extraordinary amount of material under the broad topics of ‘The History of English’, ‘English Vocabulary’, ‘English Grammar’, ‘Spoken and Written English’, ‘Using English’ and ‘Learning about English’. It used modern design tech ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'English: Meaning and culture' by Anna Wierzbicka

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
At the heart of Anna Wierzbicka’s book is the argument that what people now call World English is not culturally neutral; that it has embedded in it the Anglo values of its origin. Wierzbicka points to many seemingly ordinary English words, words that we would never suspect of being culturally distinctive, that have no equivalents in other languages. Anglo speakers will be surprised to discover ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'On The Death and Life of Languages' by Claude Hagège (translated by Jody Gladding)

April 2010, no. 320 01 April 2010
At the moment, there are about 5,000 world languages, and ninety per cent of these languages are spoken by about five per cent of the world’s population. A pessimistic forecast would predict that by 2,100 only 500 of these languages will still exist; an optimistic forecast might put the figure at 2,500, about the same rate as the extinction of mammals. Many of the languages under threat are spok ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'The Dictionary Wars: The American fight over the English language' by Peter Martin

December 2019, no. 417 03 September 2019
The title of this book refers to the battle for market dominance between the editors and publishers of two rival dictionaries, the one edited by Noah Webster and the other by Joseph Worcester. This battle took place largely between 1829 and 1864, and it was played out in the newspapers and by means of pamphlet warfare, with such titles as A Gross Literary Fraud Exposed, Relating to the Publication ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'Australia’s Original Languages: An introduction' by R.M.W. Dixon

August 2019, no. 413 22 July 2019
Bob Dixon has researched Australian Indigenous languages since the 1960s, has constructed grammars of five languages, and has written numerous scholarly books and articles on Aboriginal languages. His latest book is directed at the general reader, and it springs from his frustration at what he sees as the persistent and continuing misunderstandings in the wider Australian community about the natur ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'Beowulf' translated by Stephen Mitchell

March 2018, no. 399 22 February 2018
The Old English Beowulf, the most important poem in English before Chaucer, was probably composed in the eighth century. The poem traces Beowulf’s three fights against the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. The dragon is defeated, but Beowulf also dies in the battle. The poem ends with an elegiac lament not just for the loss of its hero, but also for the dissolution of the soci ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'That’s the Way It Crumbles: The American conquest of English' by Matthew Engel

January–February 2018, no. 398 06 December 2017
Matthew Engel has written for many years in The Guardian and the Financial Times, on topics ranging from politics to sport, and between 1993 and 2007 he produced editions of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. In this latest book he takes up the bat (or steps up to the plate) for British English. That’s the Way It Crumbles is a lament for the death of British English, a noble warrior battered and bam ... (read more)

Bruce Moore reviews 'The Word Detective: A life in words, from Serendipity to Selfie' by John Simpson

March 2017, no. 389 28 February 2017
What does a lexicographer do? How do you become a lexicographer? What makes a good lexicographer? What is the difference between a ‘standard’ dictionary and a dictionary based on historical principles? How do you reinvent the Oxford English Dictionary so that it has a secure place in an online modern publishing world? These are among the questions explored in John Simpson’s memoir. John Sim ... (read more)
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