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THE CONCISE SCOTS DICTIONARY: AN INTERIM REPORT1 M. A. R. Martin and M. Robinson Some years before the publication of the final volume of the Scottish National Dictionary (SND) in 1976, the Scottish National Dictionary Association had begun discussing a suggestion that a shorter dictionary of Scots, based on existing reference-works, should be produced. During the early 1970s, various models of scale were tested and evaluated, before the Dictionary Association finally decided on the basic principles by which the new work was to be edited. In October 1975, work was begun on the abridged dictionary, by a small staff under A. J. Aitken,2 and M. Robinson,3 both of whom are experienced lexicographers . They had been jointly responsible for editing the experimental runs during the preceding years, and for compiling the original principles of abridgment. The new dictionary is designed to be of use to as wide a readership as possible, to students of the Scottish language and culture, and to general readers. There is a conspicuous need for such a work, since there is a major gap in the corpus of existing works of reference, between the major dictionaries and the many glossaries accompanying individual texts. Warrack's Dictionary4 is merely a word list of Scots, and its content falls far short of the information that will be available in the new work. The Concise Scots Dictionary (CSD) is based chiefly on the contents of the SND and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST), in so far as the latter is complete (to date, i.e. Dec. 1980, A-Pav is published). Where the DOST is unavailable, the relevant sections of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are used for the Older Scots period, supplemented by certain chosen glossaries of the sixteenth century. The closest analogue to CSD is The Shorter Oxford Dictionary of English, which abridges the content of the OED, but, while the Shorter Oxford Dictionary is based on one source only, the editors of CSD are attempting to abridge and combine material from two quite separate dictionaries, differing not merely in such matters as their styles of presentation, but in basic editorial policy. The aim of the editors of the DOST is to provide an exhaustive record of all writings in Older Scots, covering the period from the time of the earliest written records of the vernacular language until the end of the sixteenth century . Regarding seventeenth century material, their policy changes, and items found to be direct borrowings from contemporary Early Modern English during the century are excluded from their dictionary; however, the record provided by the DOST does contain a considerable number of items common to both Scots and English of the period. The editorial policy of the editors of the SND was similar to that which is exercised in the DOST for the later period, for, while the SND provides a comprehensive record of Scots used in the period between 1700 and the various publication-dates of every separate fascicle during the twentieth century (1931-76), material common to both Scots and standard English is usually excluded. It is intended that CSD will provide a concise but comprehensive account of 90 M. A. R. Martin and M. Robinson91 the entire history of Scots, just as the Shorter Oxford Dictionary does for the English language. In addition to providing the commoner Scots forms and usages, some guide to pronunciation will be given, as well as details of the distribution of every entry included in the dictionary. It must be stressed that the production of this dictionary does not mark an attempt to break new ground in the field of studies in Scots. It will be almost exclusively a summary of existing works of reference, with new research being strictly limited to expedite the production of CSD. Selection of Entries The basic rules that operate in the selection of entries for CSD are as follows. First, to merit inclusion an item (be it a word or phrase, or a 'meaning ' or use) must be (a) exclusively Scots, or (b) used in Scots and also in English dialect, or (c) current in Scots at least one hundred years before or after the OED...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 90-100
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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