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Char Koay Teow And Rendang Spice Up Oxford Dictionary

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PETALING JAYA: Aiyah, who says Manglish is low class? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has declared it to be very atas, lah.

The OED, widely regarded as the authority on the English language, has included Malay and Manglish words such as rendang and mamak among more than 1,000 revisions and updates to its latest edition.

Other local lingo in the September quarterly update include Ah Beng, atas (high social status), bodoh (stupid), aiyoh, char kuey teow, Hainanese chicken rice, kopitiam (coffeeshop), and ang pow.

It had already included other Manglish terms such as lah, lepak, wah and teh tarik in previous editions, and these colourful terms join many other interesting entries in the 150-year-old dictionary’s collection of 600,000 words

Another noun with purportedly Asian roots is “tiger mother”, which is defined as a strict or demanding mother who pushes her children to high levels of achievement, using methods regarded as typical of child-rearing in China and other parts of East Asia.

According to its website, the OED is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words – past and present – from across the English-speaking world.

Fans of British novelist Roald Dahl, who is regarded one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century, also have reason to rejoice.

A range of revised and newly-drafted entries connected to him and his writing have been included to mark the passing of 100 years since his birth on Sept 13, 1916.

Six of his distinctive made-up terms were included, such as scrumdiddlyumptious, a portmanteau to mean extremely scrumptious; splendiferous, which means full of or abounding in splendour; Oompa Loompa, characters in Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; and human bean, a mispronunciation of the word human being by the giant in his book The BFG.

Moobs, meaning unusually prominent breasts on a man, also made the cut, while excitable personalities can squeal over the inclusion of squee.

The OED also shed light on the interesting origins of some ubiquitous forms of netspeak – the jargon and abbreviations typically used by frequent internet users.

“The acronym YOLO (1996) is traced back to its antecedent, the axiomatic you only live once, first used in a 19th English translation of Balzac’s French ‘on ne vit qu’un fois’ in his Le Cousin Pons,” said OED senior assistant editor Jonathan Dent in a post on the site.

Those hoping to see more Manglish terms in the OED will have to lepak until December for more new words and revised entries.

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