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SCHOOLS across Melksham and surrounding villages have received donations of a book about the natural environment that highlights words that have been removed from children’s dictionaries.
Copies of ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris were donated to the schools by the Melksham Almshouses Charities and Melksham News. The initiative was inspired by local resident Ian Cardy, who read a story about the book, which is the subject of a campaign to donate copies of the book to primary, secondary and special schools across the UK.
One of the trustees of Melksham Almshouses Charities, Davina Griffin, explains, “‘The Lost Words’ is a book of words about the natural environment that have been left out of recent children’s dictionaries.
“Dictionaries can only have a limited number of words in them but the words available to all of us, let alone children, have the power to affect how we view and understand our world. When Ian (Cardy) showed me the book, I thought it was just wonderful but I was also appalled about the removal of such words like ‘bluebell’, ‘conker’ and ‘kingfisher’ from the children’s dictionary.
“Dictionaries are store rooms of our language and if words disappear then there is a danger that those words will become historic oddities and go out of common use. At a time when so much of our environment and its flora and fauna are in such danger, removing words about our environment seems misguided and unforgiveable. And it is especially important that we assist our young people in learning about the environment around themselves.
“‘The Lost Words’ provides a beautiful and informative antidote. This book provides a stimulus for conversation and many curriculum-related school activities, as well as being a lovely book to dip into and enjoy the wonderful illustrations and words.”
Books were presented to a number schools and Melksham Library at an event held at the Town Hall earlier this month.