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1 64Reviews Richard W. Bailey, ed. Dictionaries of English. Prospects for the Record of Our Language. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1987. viii + 161 pp. This volume assembles the papers read at the Colloquium on English Lexicography, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in August 1985. It is dedicated to Professor Jürgen Schäfer, who died soon after his return to West Germany. The organizer of the conference and editor of the volume, Richard W. Bailey, in his introduction describes the theme of the nine articles included as celebrating the tradition in English dictionaries and questioning it at the same time. In the opening paper, "The Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary: The End of the Alphabet," Robert W. Burchfield outlines those lexicographical features that he took over unchanged from the OED in order to preserve the unity of the work in the supplementary volumes. In two respects, however, he deliberately deviated from the OED's lexicographical policy: Murray insisted on aiming at an average of one quotation per century for any given meaning. But such a policy would have been entirely inadequate for a proper presentation of the proliferating new vocabulary of the present century. We have moved toward a policy of including at least one quotation per decade. We have also been far less reticent about the inclusion of sexual vocabulary and have not held back when presenting illustrative examples of such words (19). The tradition of the Oxford English Dictionary is then contrasted with the approach adopted by Frederic G. Cassidy in the compilation of the Dictionary of American Regional English. In his paper, "The Oxford English Dictionary and the Dictionary ofAmerican Regional English: Some Differences of Practice," Cassidy stresses that "the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is first in basing a historical dictionary on a combination of atlas-style field collecting and collecting from written sources" (24). The data collected from field studies make DARE an extremely precious source for further sociolinguistic studies. They also give DAREs usage Reviews165 labels a degree of objectivity that is unparalleled in other dictionaries . E. S. C. Weiner's paper on "The New Oxford English Dictionary : Progress and Prospects" provides a very interesting report of the New OED project but leaves no doubt that "any program of revising and expanding the pre-1700 material on a systematic basis . . . will necessarily come relatively low on the New OED project's list of priorities" (43). This is exactly the topic of the following two papers by T. F. Hoad and Jürgen Schäfer. Hoad, in his paper on "Developing and Using Lexicographical Resources in Old and Middle English," shows how the established lexicographical tradition could be developed further. The available resources for Old and Middle English could be used to specify the restrictions with respect to particular literary forms or genres, registers, and dialects. They should also be exploited more fully in the historical description of word-formational processes. From Old and Middle English we proceed to Early Modern English ("Early Modern English: OED, New OED, EMED"). No one was better qualified to assess the OED's shortcomings in recording the Early Modern English word stock than Jürgen Schäfer, whose two-volume publication on all the monolingual glossaries and dictionaries published before 1641 we are still awaiting. According to him the most pressing tasks for future data capture for the Early Modern English period are the recording of unrecorded words and hapax legomena, antedatings , and more information on the frequency of words. The need for more information on the status of words is one of the recurrent themes in the papers under review. That such a need is perceived so strongly is undoubtedly due to the predominance of sociolinguistics and pragmatics in language research. And yet it might not have been perceived so clearly without a well-established tradition of recording the spelling, pronunciation, grammar, and meaning of lexical items. Such additional information is indispensable when national variants of English are concerned. Richard Allsopp in his contribution, " 'Like If Say You See a Jumbie or a Duppy': Problems of Definitional Differentiae in a Complex of Anglophone Cultures," does not limit himself to discussing the difficulties of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 164-167
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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