Caught by the River

Omitted Words on Water

16th February 2015


Following a recent post concerning the cull of ‘natural’ words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, Annabel Ralphs got in contact and drew our attention to her marvellous response:

Dear Caught by the River

Thank you for your newsletter which is always a treat. The 16th Jan edition included a letter about the Oxford Junior Dictionary which inspired me to email some images of my book art which I hope you like and find in the spirit of Caught by the River.

As an artist Hidden in Transit in 2012 was part of my response to Oxford Junior Dictionary’s missing ‘nature’ words problem. I worked with interventions and infiltrations of ephemeral work in places which relate directly to dictionary sites, in this case Oxford. Places where dictionaries were made, and the people who made them are a counterpoint to the less tangible world of the word-list as a mapping of language.


A 4 foot-long folding book (OED in book form took up 4 feet of shelf space) containing endangered words was transported up-river stopping along the way before reaching the final destination, an exhibition at Wolfson college. This route was of course teeming with wild life, many of whose names are now inaccessible to ‘juniors’.


‘Citizenship’ a new addition to 2012 Junior Dictionary illustrates word usage by ‘at school we have lessons on citizenship’, presumably without ‘nature’ words.

Annabel Ralphs