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September 03, 2013

UK | Publishing | Online

Macmillan revises definition of marriage to include gay couples

gay-pride-march.jpgMacmillan's is the first UK dictionary to reflect the country's new law on same sex marriage.

The online dictionary Macmillandictionary.com has become the first UK dictionary to revise its definition of marriage to reflect the change in the law allowing same sex couples to marry.

The definition of "marriage" now reads: "The relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex," with the second clause newly added.

The revision follows the marriage (same sex couples) bill through its crucial reading in the House of Lords on 15 July and accompanies other changes in a significant update to the dictionary. One that is likely to offend grammar purists is the inclusion of "of" as a preposition for use with "bored", as in "bored of".

Macmillandictionary.com editor-in-chief Michael Rundell said the change to the definition of "marriage" might suggest a future redefining of the terms "husband" and "wife". "In a same sex relationship two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as 'wife', but if it's two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye on that."

The Macmillandictionary.com definition of wife is "the woman that a man is married to", and husband is "the man that a woman is married to".

Changes to the official definitions of words are guided by analysis of their usage. "We have a corpus of two billion words, a huge collection of text including books, magazines and recorded speech, which we analyse in great detail to understand frequent and common usage," Rundell said.

Read the full article from The Guardian.

Photograph: Lee Harper/Corbis

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Comments

And yet Macmillan - along with all the other ELT publishers - refuse to acknowledge the LGBT community exists in their ELT materials.

The bottom line is that Macmillan and the other publishers care only about the bottom line and not wishing to offend the homophobic countries and students refuse to even mention the word GAY in any of their books, despite it being one of the most common words in English (in the top 2,000).

This is our article on the whole issue of LGBT in TEFL: http://tinyurl.com/nwu859d

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