I had my dictionary out earlier today as an attempt to figure out the size of my vocabulary. This exercise didn’t happen, but something else did. I turned to the last page of my dictionary and discovered that there are 2214 pages in my dictionary, all of them filled with words (okay, and some illustrations). This averages out to around six and half pages a day if I started reading tomorrow and read through the rest of the year.
Doing so is tempting. Sure, it’s not as impressive as the guy who read the Oxford English Dictionary in a year, but we’re talking a 2000+ page work here. I wouldn’t be able to devote all my time to reading a dictionary anyway.
It’s also tempting from a psychological point of view. As a child I was asked on several occasions if I had read the dictionary.The answer, of course, was no, but the idea stayed in my head. Now that I have plenty of my time on my hands and can break the project down into a few pages a day, why shouldn’t I do it? I’ll certainly get to enrich my own sadly lacking vocabulary.
The answer to “Should I do it?” is obviously yes; what do I lose besides a little spare time and the ability to say that I haven’t read it? The only challenge will be keeping up when other things come up in my life, as they inevitably do. That’s why the end of the year is an approximate deadline. I can shift that if needed as long as I keep going.
Let’s do it.
6 replies on “Reading the dictionary”
Yes! Finally someone else wants to do it! Let’s start a book club for the dictionary! Which dictionary are you using?
@LeoFair Yes, let’s do it! I’m using Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, ISBN 0760749752, 315k+ entries. I have a lot of reading ahead of me.
Ah, the irresistible siren’s call of a rarely accomplished, seemingly “impossible” task.
I say GO FOR IT! Best of luck!
@JMattHicks There’s definitely a siren effect to the call. It may make me crazy eventually. 😉
An excellent idea that will undoubtedly benefit you big time! And hey, even if you only get halfway through it, think how much you’ll learn! Keep us posted…
@JonHearty Exactly! That’s how I’m seeing it. I won’t remember everything, but surely I’ll remember some of those words as having seen them somewhere before.