ROALD DAHL FANS might have a new reason to be “whoopsy whiffling”, as Oxford University Press has published a new dictionary compiling Dahl’s words to celebrate the centenary of the illustrious storyteller’s birth.
The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary features almost 8000 real, and invented, “extra-usual” words known as “gobblefunk”, that Dahl used in his work for children. The dictionary is also illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, and its release is an opportune precursor to the upcoming Steven Spielberg film adaptation of The BFG.
The dictionary was researched and compiled by a team led by lexicographer Dr Susan Rennie over a period of five years. It showcases Dahl’s literary artistry, such as his adoption of spoonerisms and malapropisms, and his play with puns, sound and much more.
Examples of such literary creativity include “delumptious”, which means delicious, “whoopsy whiffling”, which means exciting, and “rotsome” which means unpleasant. “Dahl’s literary creations also were reflective of his personal life”, Head of OUP Children’s Dictionaries Vineeta Gupta told Cherwell.
An example of such would be that in Matilda, a parrot called Chopper actually alluded to Dahl’s real-life Jack Russell terrier. “Matilda” also means “mighty in battle” and was a frequent name given to tanks used in North Africa during WWII, where Roald Dahl served as a RAF pilot.
Gupta said the dictionary was meant to be an insight into Dahl’s creativity, and in particular to encourage children aged eight and above to “write more”. It also has the “rigour” of a “real and fully-functioning dictionary”.
“Roald Dahl’s work is timeless and he is the number one children storyteller in the world. How can we not have made such a compilation? We hope that this dictionary will be enjoyed by children, parents and grandparents alike from all over the world”, she said.
“I think it’s absolutely great that one of the wittiest, most creative, and most jubilant authors of all time has been featured in his own dictionary.” said Jonathan Yeung, a second-year PPEist at Oriel.
“Language leaves such a big impact on all of us, and every good language needs to have people who are willing to stretch it, give it dynamism and life. Roald Dahl is one of these people”, he continued.
Michelle Sum, a second-year lawyer also at Oriel, thought the same and told Cherwell, “Oxford is proving itself not to be archaic and boring by giving its seal of approval to Roald Dahl’s creations.”
“Children around the world can now rejoice in knowing that they can call their teacher who give them too much homework a cracfficult oompa loompa. What will be next? Perhaps a sign for a Harry Potter dictionary to come?”