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Reviews1 43 Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series, Volume 3. Ed. Michael Proffitt. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1997. Pp. ? + 352 + 54 (index). $55.00 i: "n the past, the considerable resources of the Oxford English Diction- .ary researchers have remained hidden for long periods of time. Only with the publication of truly major works — Robert Burchfield's four-volume Supplement (1972-86) and the OED2 (1989) — have outsiders had access to the treasures of the dictionary department. In recent years, however, the OED has begun to publish research-in-progress volumes under the series title Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series (OEDAS) . Volumes 1 and 2 were published simultaneously in 1993; Volume 3 appeared in 1997. All of these volumes are somewhat difficult to use, chiefly due to the loose organizing principle of the books (edited entries are dumped onto pages, period). Thus the entries are usually incomplete in themselves, and one can only use them properly with the full OED open by one's side. Nonetheless, the superlative quality of the material makes them indispensable for any serious student of the English language. Though my comments pertain specifically to Volume 3, they can apply generally to all the volumes, as the organization is similar. The reader will be struck by the haphazard distribution of entries in this as in the previous OEDAS volumes. The 352 dictionary pages of Volume 3 include a whopping 63 pages for the short letter A and 184 for L and M, while the entries P-Z in their entirety require only 18. The editor justifies this with the (valid) claim that any edited entry was included immediately, without having to wait for its proper place in the alphabetical sequence. This method reflects a major benefit of the computer-aided production of dictionaries. The concentrations of entries reflect the research trends as each volume was being edited; for this volume, the heavy emphasis on M-O no doubt stems from the work being done for the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. (In an unusual but probably wise step for the dictionary, the OED revision began with M rather than the expected A, ensuring that the early part of the alphabet, plagued by the inexperience of its editors the first time around, will get a more thorough review for the current revision.) A useful index is found in the back of the book, cumulative for the three Additions Series volumes. The OEDAS3 is a good snapshot of what work must be like on the full OED. The entries span a large range. There are very many technical terms in various fields that will be unfamiliar to all but the specialist reader: amphotericin (pharmacology), Cauchy-Schwarz inequality (mathematics), jeiekite (mineralogy), kleptoparasitism (zoology), laminarinase (biochemistry), lautenclavicymbel (music), manipulandum (anthropology and psychology), myrmecochore (botany), for a small selection; chemical formulas and mathematical equations are duly given as necessary. At the same time there are many quite familiar terms, old and new: bass and treble (in their audio senses), conspiracy theory, cyberspace, denial (in the psychological sense) , desktop (computers) , juggle 1 44Reviews (in the familiar sense of keeping several objects in the air at once, astonishingly omitted from OED by an oversight) , magic(al) realism, MTV, post-traumatic stress disorder, trophy wife, Tourette syndrome, vanilla 'ordinary'. Labels, too, are sometimes obscure: alongside such standards as "U.S. Slang" and "Chem." we have "Placer Mining" (at one of the many new entries for lay, n.) and a personal favorite, "U.S. Shooting Slang" (in OEDASl s.v. pat 'a partridge'). Entries are keyed to the existing second edition of the OED, giving rise to such predefinitional instructions as "Senses 50-61 in Diet, become 51-62. Add: [VII.] [43.] c." (s.v. lay, v.), or "Sense 18 in Diet, becomes 19. Add: [L] [5.] [e.] (iii)" (s.v. lift, n., 2). Most such additions, though, are simple and not confusing. Certain groups of entries confirm the research trends of a particular volume. One can speculate that critical literary theory was a topic of interest to the editor of this volume, based on the inclusion of intertextuality, logocentric, metafiction, and poststructuralism, all with excellent entries well supported with citations from prominent critical scholars...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 143-148
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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